Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday he supports legislation led by Democrats that would make changes to the Electoral Count Act.
McConnell said he “strongly” supports the changes, which are being pushed by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
The act was first passed in 1887 and experts have called for changes to it for some time.
Last week, the House of Representatives passed the Presidential Election Reform Act in an attempt to stop future presidents from attempting to overturn election results through Congress.
The bill passed by a count of 229 to 220 and one abstention, with nine Republicans crossing the aisle to support the initiative.
McConnell’s support Tuesday is a big boost for democrats hoping to get the legislation passed in the Senate.
“I strongly support the modest changes that our colleagues in the working group have fleshed out after months of detailed discussions. I will proudly support the legislation, provided that nothing more than technical changes are made to its current form,” McConnell said in a statement.
“Congress’s process for counting the presidential electors’ votes was written 135 years ago. The chaos that came to a head on January 6th of last year certainly underscored the need for an update.
“So did Januaries 2001, 2005, and 2017; in each of which, Democrats tried to challenge the lawful election of a Republican president.”
McConnell also voiced his bipartisan support during a speech from the House floor.
The bill reaffirms that the vice president has no role in validating the results of an election. It also expands the threshold necessary for congressional officials to object to a state’s result, and makes clear that state legislatures can’t change election rules to alter the results after an election takes place.
“It [the bill] makes the already plain fact of the 12th Amendment even clearer: that the vice president has never had, and will never have, discretionary powers over the counting,” McConnell said Tuesday.
“I look forward to supporting the legislation as introduced in committee.”
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