HOLD for WED - Will Congress Block Certification of Biden's Victory? - POLSKA УКРАЇНА

Lawmakers from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are scheduled to meet Wednesday in a joint session of Congress to count and certify electoral votes based on the result of the November presidential election.  This usually routine and ceremonial function — a final step after the Electoral College officially elected Joe Biden on December 14 — has turned into a litmus test of Republican lawmakers’ loyalty to President Donald Trump. More than 100 Trump loyalists are set to challenge certification.  Here’s what we can expect from the meeting.  What usually happens?  Under the FILE – Vice President Mike Pence, center, applauds after NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, left, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 3, 2019.Senate pages — high school students from all 50 states — bring mahogany wood boxes filled with the sealed envelopes of certified electoral votes from the 50 states. The presiding officer opens and presents sealed certificates in alphabetical order of the states. The appointed “tellers” from each chamber read each certificate out loud to officially record and count the votes.  The process continues until all the votes are announced and counted. The presiding officer then announces who has won the majority votes for both president and vice president.    What is expected to happen?  In a last-ditch attempt to keep Trump in the White House, more than a hundred Republican House members and a dozen senators have said they plan to object to the electoral college tally from some or all of six swing states won by Biden — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — and demand that a commission be established to audit the election results.  FILE – Members of Arizona’s Electoral College stand as they take a photo with signed commemorative copies of the Arizona Presidential Electoral Ballot after casting their votes in the Arizona Electoral College, in Phoenix, Dec. 14, 2020.Most of the senators who plan to object represent states where Trump remains very popular. Their objections are expected to fail as Democrats control the House and are unified in their support for Biden. The Senate, although narrowly controlled by the Republicans, is not likely to vote in favor either, with several GOP senators already stating they are against throwing out any state’s certified election result.  Still, with two hours of debate permitted for each objection, plus the time needed for votes in each chamber, the typically short ceremony will likely turn into a prolonged event.  Jason Grumet, president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, called the Republican lawmakers’ move “incredibly troubling.”  “It is not conservative, it is not partisan, it is not patriotic,” Grumet said. “It is simply a self-interested effort by some ambitious politicians to challenge the outcome of an election, which by all accounts was conducted exceptionally well.”  The Trump campaign and the president’s allies have launched 61 lawsuits challenging the results of the election in a number of states. They have lost 60, after failing to provide evidence supporting their claims of widespread fraud.  What is the president’s role in this?  Trump, who won 232 Electoral College votes compared to Biden’s 306, has not conceded that he lost. He has pressured Republican lawmakers and officials to overturn the result of the election, often by wielding the power of his base that could make or break political fortunes.  How can you certify an election when the numbers being certified are verifiably WRONG. You will see the real numbers tonight during my speech, but especially on JANUARY 6th. FILE – President-elect Joe Biden speaks after the Electoral College formally confirmed his election win, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware, Dec. 14, 2020.Under the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, if no candidate receives an absolute majority of the electoral votes, the House of Representatives is required to go into session immediately to choose a president.  “There is absolutely no chance that this effort, which is basically political theater, will prevent Joe Biden from becoming president of the United States,” said Grumet, of the Bipartisan Policy Center.  But Grumet said this effort is damaging to American democracy.  “Small bad precedents often become big bad precedents,” Grumet said. “We hopefully have not created now a tradition in which people who are basically sore losers take it upon themselves to question the legitimacy of tens of millions of American voters.”  The objection has also widened the rift between establishment Republicans and populist Republicans, both of which are seeking control over the direction of the party.  “January 6th will be the opening shot in a long-term effort to define the soul of the Republican Party,” GOP pollster Whit Ayers said.  What follows will depend on what Trump does after he leaves office, Ayers said. “How active he remains, and how much political influence he retains once he no longer has the power of the presidency at his disposal,” he added.   When will it end?  Despite the certification vote potentially dragging on for days, and some of the president’s legal challenges technically still pending in the courts, on January 20, the White House almost certainly will have a new occupant as Biden is to be sworn in as the 46th U.S. president. 
 

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