The exterior of the US Capitol building is seen at sunset in Washington, US, December 13, 2022.
Sarah Silbiger | Reuters
Congressional leaders released a bipartisan government funding bill early Tuesday that includes rewriting federal election laws intended to prevent another Jan. 1. 6 method of attack and stifling ways for future candidates to steal the election.
They expect the bill, the product of lengthy negotiations between the two parties, to be passed in the coming days to avert a government shutdown set to begin this weekend.
The legislation comes one day after the House of Representatives. The Sixth Committee held its last public meeting, issuing criminal referrals to former President Donald Trump and alleging that he launched a “multi-part scheme to void results and obstruct the transfer of power” after losing the 2020 election. But unlike the committee’s recommendations, the provisions of the law will have the force of law.
The massive $1.7 trillion spending package funds federal agencies through next fall. It includes additional US assistance to Ukraine as the country struggles to fend off Russia in the ongoing war.
The Senate is expected to vote first and send the legislation to the House of Representatives. It could be the last major bill passed this year before the Republicans take control of the House of Representatives on January 3rd. 3.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif., who is courting anti-spending conservative votes to become Speaker of the House next year, has sought to torpedo the deal and debate the issue until Republicans take over. He pressured Republican lawmakers to vote against it, forcing the Democrats to provide most votes for passage in the House. The bill has more bipartisan support in the Senate, where it is expected to get the 60 votes it needs to break the filibuster.
Capitol Hill leaders decided to attach the Election and Assist Ukraine bill to make it easier to pass, based on the belief that the unified package would have the votes needed to pass it.
“I’m confident that both sides can find things in him that they can support with enthusiasm,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Monday, calling the spending bill “the last major item on our to-do list.” A year before he left for the holidays. “It’s not going to be all anyone wants,” he said.
But Schumer said another temporary bill would “leave the country in a state of drought,” and that a government shutdown would be even worse.
Passage of the bill has been delayed for hours by a snag involving language about the location of the future headquarters of the FBI, a matter of contention between Maryland and Virginia. Other items the Democrats were pushing for — such as immigration provisions, cannabis banking measures and expanding the child tax credit — were left out of the deal.
Prevent future coup attempts
The electoral legislation attached to the funding bill would close loopholes in federal law that Trump and his allies sought to exploit on January 3. 6, 2021, to stay in power despite losing the election to President Joe Biden.
It would revise the Electoral Count Act of 1887 to clarify that the role of the vice president is simply to count votes, and it would raise the minimum requirement for objection voting on a state’s electoral votes from one in the House and Senate to one-fifth. from every room. He will also strengthen laws involving the state’s certification of elections, in an effort to avoid voter lists competing in the future, and to facilitate the presidential transition process.
The electoral procedure was announced in July by a bipartisan group led by Sens. Suzanne Collins, R-Maine, and Jo Manchin, DW.Va. It has 38 sponsors in the Senate, including 16 Republicans. He is supported by McConnell, who said in September that “the chaos that culminated on January 6th of last year certainly emphasized the need for an update” of the 1887 law. The committee passed it with some modifications by a 14-1 vote this fall, and only the senator opposed it. Ted Cruz, Texas.
“It’s good. It’s progress,” said the senator. Brian Schatz, R-Hawaii, said of sweeping election reform, before warning that protecting American democracy will require more than just a new law.
“We just need to understand that there is a movement of people, they are well funded, and they are not going to be upset by the new law,” Schatz said. “So we just have to remain vigilant, even if we pass the Electoral Count Act because these people were really trying to figure out how to circumvent the Constitution and federal law. And so they’re going to continue to do that.”
‘My own concern’
For Democrats, the legislation closes the era of three-party control with a detailed funding package and solves a problem that must pass until late 2023, preventing a round of brinkmanship early in the new year with a GOP-run House.
Two of the main negotiators for the package — Senate appropriations chief Patrick Leahy, Vice President Richard Shelby, R-Al. They retire at the end of the year after serving for decades and were very excited to close the deal.
For Republicans, one incentive to pass the law now is that it funds the military at a higher level than the non-defense budget. “This is a strong result for Republicans,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, arguing that the GOP had persuaded Democrats to back down from their longstanding demand for “parity” between the two money groups.
senator. Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii, called the imbalance between military and non-military money “a concern of mine,” and said that “there are others who feel the way I do.” But she said the bill might be better than dealing with a Republican-controlled House next year.