Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, cast the lone dissenting vote in the 15-member Senate Rules Committee's greenlighting of a bill designed to revise the procedure for certifying future presidential elections in Congress, characterizing the legislation as a brazen attempt to minimize the future electoral actions of former President Donald Trump.
“This bill's a bad bill," said Cruz at the Senate hearing. "This bill is bad law; it's bad policy; and it's bad for democracy."
The Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act would serve as a de facto amendment to the Electoral Count Act of 1887.
The proposed changes include:
- The bill revises the process of casting and counting electoral votes for presidential elections.
- The choice of electors must occur in accordance with the laws of the state enacted prior to Election Day.
- The bill identifies each state's governor as responsible for submitting the certificate of ascertainment identifying the state's electors.
- The bill calls for expedited judicial review for any action brought by an aggrieved presidential or vice presidential candidate arising under the U.S. Constitution or U.S. laws, with respect to the issuance or transmission of such a certificate.
- The bill revises the framework for the joint session of Congress to count electoral votes and make a formal declaration of which candidates have been elected president and vice president. It would narrow the grounds for filing an objection, while clarifying that the role of the vice president — who also serves as Senate president — would be purely ceremonial within this process.
- The legislation would require one-fifth of House and Senate members to sign onto an objection to certifying a state's presidential electors.
The above conditions are seemingly a reaction to the Jan. 6, 2021 unrest at the Capitol. Trump consistently has accused Democrats of committing fraud during the 2020 presidential election, and he wanted then-Vice President Mike Pence to delay the certification of election results on Jan. 6, 2021.
Currently, Trump stands as the favorite to garner the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., supported the legislation.
And according to various reports, at least 10 Senate Republicans plan to vote for the measure, which would make the bill filibuster-proof — in terms of securing least 60 votes for Senate passage.
Right now, Republicans and Democrats have a 50-all split in the Senate chamber.
During the Senate meeting, Cruz reportedly quoted Article II of the U.S. Constitution, which states, "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors ..."
Cruz also maintained that Congress was "trying to intrude on the authority of the state legislatures to do that."
"This bill is all about Donald J. Trump, and nobody in our lifetime has driven Democrats in this body more out of their minds than President Trump," said Cruz.
McConnell responded to Cruz, saying, "The chaos that came to a head on Jan. 6 of last year strongly suggests that we fund careful ways to clarify and streamline the process."
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