Bipartisan talks to overhaul the Electoral Count Act are underway in Congress.
The Washington Post reports the efforts began after former president Donald Trump issued a statement saying vice president Mike Pence could have “overturned” the 2020 presidential election.
Congressman Tom Reed said reform of the law is necessary, “It is a law that was adopted 140 years plus, I believe, ago, that is full of ambiguity. It has not been updated given the new election cycles or processes that we utilize in America. And then obviously you saw the confusion that January 6th highlighted.”
The Electoral Count Act governs the congressional certification for the election of the president and vice president.
Reed said the act needs to be brought into the 21st Century, “And make it very clear as to what is the role of Congress in regards to the electoral count, and follow the Constitution, and make that sure our statutory language in Congress reflects that of the 21st Century. And makes it clear as to exactly who makes the decision of who’s going to be the next President of the United States.”
Trump’s claim that a vice president is empowered under the law to summarily reject states’ electoral votes is heavily disputed by legal scholars and officials from both parties.
Top Republicans said they remained open to the discussions. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters the law is “clearly flawed and needs to be updated,” while Minority Whip John Thune suggested Trump’s comments could actually help forge a deal.