Lawmakers Include Electoral Count Act Reforms In Omnibus Spending Bill

December 20, 2022

A bipartisan bill that includes reforms to the Electoral Count Act (ECA), changing how members of Congress could object to electoral votes, has been included in the omnibus spending bill lawmakers need to approve in the next few days.

The language in the original ECA, crafted in 1887, provided the basis for former President Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 Presidential Election on January 6, 2021.

The Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, sponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-MA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), includes language clearly defining the Vice President’s role in certifying the electoral vote count as purely ceremonial. It also raises the number of lawmakers necessary to raise a single objection to a state’s electors. 

Advocacy groups, like the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization Protect Democracy, have long been pushing for reforms to the ECA. 

On Tuesday, Protect Democracy counsel Genevieve Nadeau said in a statement, “We applaud the Senate for including the Electoral Count Reform Act as part of their deal. This legislation will help to safeguard the peaceful transition of power following future elections and better ensure that the will of voters is respected by Congress, while also protecting against improper efforts by state officials to refuse to certify lawful election results.”

The leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees unveiled the $1.7 trillion sweeping omnibus spending bill to fund all government agencies and departments early Tuesday.

Lawmakers have until the end of Friday to approve the package or else federal funds are set to run out, bringing key government agencies and programs to a halt.

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