Republicans are pushing the timeline to pass a bipartisan Electoral Count Act reform back to late spring after grousing over Democrats’ proposal to include protections for election workers in the legislation, Politico reports.
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is heading up a 16-member bipartisan group to reform the Electoral Count Act, which former President Donald Trump sought to use to block the certification of his election loss in Congress.
Manchin has said he wants to get a “framework” as soon as this week on a bill that would make clear that the vice president’s role in the certification is purely ceremonial.
Democrats have also pressed to include protections for election workers, who have faced death threats amid Trump’s falsehoods, after the failure of the Democrats’ voting rights legislation.
Bill may not be ready til June:
Republicans, who have pushed back on the Democratic proposal, dismissed Manchin’s rosy timeline.
“Take a look at the length of time for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Everybody thinks it’s going to get done in a week or two. But that took months,” North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis told Politico. “We’re still weeks into a process of discovery and scoping. So, it wouldn’t surprise me if we’re looking at a May, June timeframe before we have a consensus work product.”
Some Democrats have also said more work is needed.
“You probably have to rewrite the whole thing,” Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin said of the 1887 law. “It’s written in a way that doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said a lengthy negotiation was “not surprising because once you start talking about the issues, it’s complicated.”
GOP pushes back on other reforms:
Republicans complain that Democrats are trying to shoehorn measures not related to the 1887 law.
“Democrats keep trying to push the envelope and talk about challenging state election laws in federal courts” by creating new pathways to bring such lawsuits, a GOP aide told Politico.
“Everything can be on the table, but in the end we’ve got to really focus on the Electoral Count Act and some issues like protecting poll workers from threats of physical violence and reauthorizing the Election Assistance Commission,” said Maine Sen. Susan Collins. “There are some Republicans that want only to focus on the Electoral Count Act, period.”