McConnell Remarks at Rules Committee on “Common Sense” Electoral Count Act Updates
‘[T]he situation called for careful, methodical, and bipartisan work… to arrive at a careful, methodical, and bipartisan product… And fortunately for all of us, fortunately for the country, an outstanding working group of Senators rolled up their sleeves… I strongly support the Collins legislation as introduced. And assuming that we make no changes here today — or at most technical changes — I will be proud to vote to advance it.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today at the Senate Rules Committee hearing regarding the Electoral Count Act:
“I’m pleased that we are where we are today. We’re here to consider legislation that is necessarily detailed and complex. But the reason we are here is simple: After 150 years, the Electoral Count Act needs some modest updates.
“Those of us on this committee know it. I believe that all our colleagues in the Senate know it. And the American people certainly know it.
“Now, clearly, when a 150-year-old law has successfully brought us certainty, finality, and one orderly presidential inauguration after another, we need to be delicate and careful with any changes.
“But the chaos that came to a head on January 6th of last year strongly suggests that we find careful ways to clarify and streamline the process.
“And so does what happened in January 2001, January 2005, and January 2017.
“For more than 20 years now, every time voters pick a Republican president, we’ve seen at least some Democrats in Congress resist the people’s decision and try to challenge the electoral count.
“So the situation called for careful, methodical, and bipartisan work… to arrive at a careful, methodical, and bipartisan product.
“It is clear that only a bipartisan compromise originating in the Senate can actually become law. One party going it alone would be a non-starter. In my view, the House bill is a non-starter.
“We had one shot to get this right.
“And fortunately for all of us, fortunately for the country, an outstanding working group of Senators rolled up their sleeves.
“I want to especially thank Senator Collins for her leadership. Senator Blunt, for his commitment. Senators Capito, Murkowski, Portman, Romney, Sasse, Tillis, and Young were also instrumental on our side of the aisle.
“Obviously their Democratic counterparts worked hard to make this happen, as well.
“I strongly support the Collins legislation as introduced.
“And assuming that we make no changes here today — or at most technical changes — I will be proud to vote to advance it.
“The substance of this bill is common sense.
“It is common sense to modestly increase, as others have said here, the threshold for objections to the electoral count — so that Congress still has options in case of truly extraordinary circumstances, but we avoid an arms race where objections with almost no support paralyze the process every four years.
“It is common sense to make the already clear fact of the 12th Amendment even clearer still: That the Vice President obviously has no personal discretionary power over the presidential vote.
“It is common sense to protect states’ primacy in appointing their electors, but also strengthen requirements that states publicize their rules before the elections and then stick to them.
“It is common sense to make technical fixes to other related laws like the Presidential Transitions Act.
“And it is common sense that our colleagues left chaos-generating bad ideas on the cutting room floor — like a massive federal takeover of election law, or inventing new causes of action for litigation that would throw every election into the courts.
“The legislation before us, with this text, in this form, is Congress’s one option to get an outcome.
“And in my view, this is not an opportunity we should pass up.
“So in closing, I want to again thank my colleagues for their many weeks of hard work on this.
“Let’s preserve the legislation as introduced and report out this important bill.”