Jan. 6 panel's election reform bill heads to Senate
The House has advanced a bipartisan measure that aims to prevent future disruptions of Congress’ counting of electoral votes, making it the first legislation to come out of the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.
The Presidential Election Reform Act passed Wednesday afternoon in a 229-203 vote, with nine Republicans joining Democrats in support.
Here are five things to know about the legislation and the day-long House floor debate over the proposal:
1. Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), two integral members of the Jan. 6 panel, introduced the legislation
"Our bill will preserve the rule of law by ensuring that self-interested politicians cannot steal from the people the guarantee that our government derives the power from the consent of the governed," said Cheney, who lost a coveted position in GOP leadership last year after she condemned former President Trump for the attack.
2. The bill cites the Capitol attack to justify amending the Electoral Count Act
"The Electoral Count Act of 1887 should be amended to prevent other future unlawful efforts to overturn Presidential elections and to ensure future peaceful transfers of Presidential power," the bill states.
3. Republicans largely opposed the bill, claiming rushed timing and a lack of representation
"I'm not calling into question whether this bill is good or whether this bill is bad," Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) said during the debate. "What I'm saying is we have not been involved in this process and we're being told to just take the word of someone because they call themselves a conservative commentator, but it's those of us here that have been elected by the people of this nation that are given the responsibility to analyze these things, to work together in a bipartisan manner to come up with what is the best solution for this nation."
"What's so important that a bill needs to be rushed to the house floor without a committee hearing to review and analyze the bill?" added Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.). "We need to actually dive into what this bill does to actually allow the American people to have confidence in our election system."
4. Democrats argued the legislation reaffirms constitutional principles
“To all those who oppose this legislation, I ask you — how could anyone vote against free and fair elections, the cornerstone of our Constitution?” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on the House floor ahead of the vote. “How could anyone vote against our Founders' vision: Placing power in the hands of the people? How could anyone vote against their own constituents, allowing radical politicians to rip away their say in our democracy?”
5. Senate plans to review similar legislation
The Hill's Mychael Schnell and Rebecca Beitsch report that passage of the House bill comes as the Senate plans to review similar, though separate, legislation that would also reform the Electoral College Act. That bill would require a one-fifth vote in each chamber in order for lawmakers to object to a state's election results.
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🇺🇳 Biden: ‘No one other than Russia sought conflict’
President Biden didn’t shy away from directly calling out Russian President Vladimir Putin by name during a high-profile speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.
- The speech largely focused on support for Ukraine as it fights back against Moscow’s ongoing military campaign to seize territory from the Eastern European country, even as the Kremlin falls short of its objectives.
- The United States already has already given nearly $16 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, which is viewed as a vital strategic partner in the region.
Alex Gangitano and Brett Samuels, White House correspondents for The Hill, have the full rundown of Biden’s address.
Here’s a particularly meaty section from Biden’s speech that we found noteworthy:
“Just today, President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe and a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the non-proliferation regime.
Now Russia is calling – calling up more soldiers to join the fight. And the Kremlin is organizing a sham referenda to try to annex parts of Ukraine, an extremely significant violation of the U.N. Charter.
This world should see these outrageous acts for what they are. Putin claims he had to act because Russia was threatened. But no one threatened Russia, and no one other than Russia sought conflict.
In fact, we warned it was coming. And with many of you, we worked to try to avert it.
Putin’s own words make his true purpose unmistakable. Just before he invaded, Putin asserted — and I quote — Ukraine was 'created by Russia' and never had, quote, ‘real statehood.’
And now we see attacks on schools, railway stations, hospitals, on centers of Ukrainian history and culture."
The Hill's Colin Meyn has five takeaways from Putin's rare address to the Russian people on Wednesday about his war against Ukraine.
🇺🇦 The next Ukraine challenge
President Biden faces a looming challenge back home to maintain support for Ukraine's ongoing efforts against Russia as control of Congress remains up in the air.
Republicans, who are favored to win the House and are battling for a chance to take control of the Senate, could push for cuts in aid money going to Ukraine should they flip at least one chamber in November's midterm elections.
GOP members in the House especially have questioned U.S. funding going to Kiev. Dozens of House Republicans voted against a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine earlier this year, criticizing the bill as adding to the national debt. Nearly a dozen Republicans in the Senate also voted against advancing the package.
Already, some far-right lawmakers — many of them aligned with former President Trump, including Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) — have suggested they want to cut off the spigot of military aid that’s given Ukraine leverage over the invading Russian forces.
Alexis Lerner, an assistant professor of political science at the U.S. Naval Academy, told NotedDC that a shift in support would mean more than just a potential financial and equipment hit to Ukraine.
“If it were to happen, it would signal to the Putin administration that America was maybe becoming more willing to let go, to some degree, of its support for Ukraine," she said. “It would also signal to the Ukrainians that this support is very contingent upon whoever is leading America at any given time.”
(Lerner noted that her opinions and statements do not represent the military or the Naval Academy.)
Lerner, whose research focuses on Russia and the post-Soviet region, said Putin has an "obsession with the Ukraine war" that appears to have distracted the autocrat from his normal focus of silencing dissenters in Moscow.
“I think this indicates to us that Putin is more afraid of losing the war in Ukraine than he is of his nation rising up in protest," she said of the latest news of Putin's instituting a partial draft to bolster the invasion effort.
More: Check out Lerner's explainer on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as she taught her students.
❌ Washington Monument vandalized with profanity
U.S. Park Police announced they have arrested a man suspected of defacing the Washington Monument, scrawling a crude anti-government message on its base.
The man, identified as Shaun Ray Deaton, 44, of Bloomington, Ind., was apprehended at the scene on Tuesday night.
- Deaton has been charged with trespassing, tampering and vandalism. Park officials are requesting anyone with additional info to contact their tip line.
National Park Service conservators are working to remove the red paint from the obelisk at the center of the National Mall. It could take several days.
Good news for those who have tickets to the monument this week: The vandalism was done on the side opposite the main entrance, so it’s still open to visitors.
Kelley Robinson, a Black, queer woman who previously led the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, has been picked to be the new president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
“This is a pivotal moment in our movement for equality for LGBTQ+ people,” Robinson said in a news release. “We, particularly our trans and BIPOC communities, are quite literally in the fight for our lives and facing unprecedented threats that seek to destroy us.”
- HRC has been leading efforts to codify marriage equality over concerns that the conservative majority on the
Supreme Court could upend the landmark
Obergefell v. Hodges decision that paved the way for same-sex marriages across the country.
The Hill's Brooke Migdon has more on the news.
The Hill’s Karl Evers-Hillstrom has a weekly roundup of where people are moving in the lobbying world. Here are some highlights from this week:
Charles Symington has been named the next president and CEO of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.
- John Neal is the new executive director for space policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Katherine Duveneck has joined theNational Association of Mutual Insurance Companies as director of federal affairs.
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Basis point hike the Fed announced Wednesday. It's the fifth Fed rate hike since March and the third 75 basis point hike in a row. Read more on what it means here.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) will join author Ibram X. Kendi at the Anacostia location of Busboys & Poets on Thursday in a discussion on the growing movement across the country to ban books from schools and libraries on topics ranging from racism to LGBT rights.
Kendi, a MacArthur Genius fellow, is perhaps best known for his antiracism activism. Bush, who was first elected to Congress in 2020, is one of the members of “The Squad” of progressive House members.
Their discussion is expected to touch on the politically charged “growing embrace of censorship of all kinds” in the country. The in-person event is free and will also be live streamed.
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