With 14 GOP co-sponsors, the bipartisan bill is likely to have the filibuster-proof threshold of 10 senators.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Republican Senate leader, supports the bill. Texas’ other Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) is also signed on as a co-sponsor.
Despite Cruz’s vote, the bill received the necessary votes to advance to the Senate at large.
Prior to the bill markup in committee, McConnell said, “I’ll be proud to vote for it and to help advance it,” claiming that, “The substance of this bill is common sense.”
Titled the “Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act of 2022,” the bill modernizes the “Electoral Count Act of 1887.”
The legislation’s goal is to eliminate the confusion and controversy that arose following the January 6 protests. At that time, the results of the 2020 presidential election were called into question by some Republican lawmakers, sparking anger among some party supporters.
The bill amends the original law in multiple ways.
One main change is the vice president’s role in certifying election results. After the 2020 election, President Trump called for Vice President Mike Pence to reject the results.
Pence responded that he had no constitutional authority to reject the votes, but the language was unclear in the original law.
The new bill says that the role of the vice president in the election certification process is merely ceremonial, or “ministerial” as written in the bill.
The second major change is the process of contesting elector votes. After the 2020 election, Cruz voted to formally object to the election results in Arizona, which was allowed under the original law.
Under the new law, an objection can only be considered if it receives support from one-fifth of each chamber of Congress.
At the committee meeting, Cruz said, “This is a bad bill. This bill is bad law, bad policy, and bad for democracy.”
“This bill is all about Donald J. Trump, and nobody in our lifetime has driven Democrats in this body more out of their minds than President Trump,” he argued. “We know that Democrats are not opposed to objecting to presidential electors.”
“Democrats objected in 1969, they objected again in 2001, in 2005, and 2017. Democrats have a long history of objecting to elections.”
Cruz decried the bill as an effort by Democrats to allow voter fraud, which he believes is a serious issue.
“The biggest reason this bill is problematic is that it is intended to decrease the ability of the United States Congress to address the very real problem of voter fraud,” he asserted.
Responding to Cruz, McConnell said, “The chaos that came to a head on January 6 of last year strongly suggests that we fund careful ways to clarify and streamline the process.”
Cruz has been a close ally of Trump compared to senators like McConnell and Cornyn, who’ve had a more rocky relationship with the former president.
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Hudson Callender is a reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of San Antonio, Texas. Hudson recently graduated cum laude from Trinity University with majors in Economics and Political Science, and loves to study ancient history. Hudson is also an avid mountaineer, backpacker, and paddler, often leading trips to remote wilderness areas. Outside of his love for nature, history, and Lone Star beer, Hudson spends his weekends arguing with his friends about football, and will always stick up for the Baylor Bears, Dallas Cowboys, and San Antonio Spurs.