FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2019 file photo, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks with reporters at the Capitol in Washington. A deepening divide among Republicans over President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election runs prominently through Wyoming, the state that delivered Trump’s widest prevailing margin by far. Eleven Republican senators saying they will not be voting Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory include Wyoming’s newly sworn in Sen. Cynthia Lummis, a Cheyenne-area rancher and former congresswoman. Vocal opponents of any such move include Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, leader of GOP messaging in the House as its third-ranking Republican (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2019 file photo, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks with reporters at the Capitol in Washington. A deepening divide among Republicans over President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election runs prominently through Wyoming, the state that delivered Trump’s widest prevailing margin by far. Eleven Republican senators saying they will not be voting Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory include Wyoming’s newly sworn in Sen. Cynthia Lummis, a Cheyenne-area rancher and former congresswoman. Vocal opponents of any such move include Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, leader of GOP messaging in the House as its third-ranking Republican (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

U.S. Congress set to confirm Biden’s electoral win over Trump

It comes as overnight results from Georgia’s runoff elections put Democrats within reach of Senate majority

President Donald Trump’s extraordinary effort to overturn the presidential election is going before Congress as lawmakers convene for a joint session to confirm the Electoral College vote won by Joe Biden.

The typically routine proceeding Wednesday will be anything but, a political confrontation unseen to such intensity since the aftermath of the Civil War, as Trump mounts a desperate effort to stay in office. The president’s Republican allies in the House and Senate plan to object to the election results, heeding supporters’ plea to “fight for Trump” as he stages a rally outside the White House. It’s tearing the party apart.

The last-gasp effort is all but certain to fail, defeated by bipartisan majorities in Congress prepared to accept the November results. Biden, who won the Electoral College 306-232, is to be inaugurated Jan. 20.

“The most important part is that, in the end, democracy will prevail here,” Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, among those managing the proceedings, said in an interview.

The joint session of Congress, required by law, will convene at 1 p.m. EST before a watchful, restless nation — months after the election, two weeks before the inauguration’s traditional peaceful transfer of power and against the backdrop of a surging COVID-19 pandemic.

It also comes as overnight results from Georgia’s runoff elections put Democrats within reach of a Senate majority.

The current majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who tried to warn his Republican Party off this challenge, is expected to deliver early remarks. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it a day of “enormous historic significance,” about “guaranteeing trust in our democratic system.”

But it is Vice-President Mike Pence who will be most closely watched as he presides over the session.

Despite Trump’s repeated claims of voter fraud, election officials and his own former attorney general have said there were no problems on a scale that would change the outcome. All the states have certified their results as fair and accurate, by Republican and Democratic officials alike.

Pence has a largely ceremonial role, opening the sealed envelopes from the states after they are carried in mahogany boxes used for the occasion, and reading the results aloud. But he is under growing pressure from Trump to overturn the will of the voters and tip the results in the president’s favour, despite having no legal power to affect the outcome.

“Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!” Trump tweeted Wednesday.

With the Senate results from Georgia streaming in, Trump amplified his pleas to stay in office as a veto check on Democrats. The country “NEEDS THE PRESIDENCY MORE THAN EVER,” he tweeted.

While other vice-presidents, including Al Gore and Richard Nixon, also presided over their own defeats, Pence supports those Republican lawmakers mounting challenges to the 2020 outcome.

It’s not the first time lawmakers have challenged results. Democrats did in 2017 and 2005. But the intensity of Trump’s challenge is like nothing in modern times, and an outpouring of current and elected GOP officials warn the showdown is sowing distrust in government and eroding Americans’ faith in democracy.

“There is no constitutionally viable means for the Congress to overturn an election,” said Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., announcing his refusal to join the effort on the eve of the session.

Still, more than a dozen Republican senators led by Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas, along with as many as 100 House Republicans, are pressing ahead to raise objections to individual states’ reports of Biden’s wins.

Under the rules of the joint session, any objection to a state’s electoral tally needs to be submitted in writing by at least one member of the House and one of the Senate to be considered. Each objection will force two hours of deliberations in the House and Senate, ensuring a long day.

House Republican lawmakers are signing on to objections to the electoral votes in six states — Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Arizona will likely be the first to be disputed as the state tallies are announced in alphabetical order. Cruz has said he will join House Republicans in objecting to that state, even as he acknowledged the effort will not have the votes to succeed.

“Extraordinarily uphill,” he said late Tuesday on Fox News.

Hawley has said he will object to the election results from Pennsylvania, almost ensuring a second two-hour debate despite resistance from the state’s Republican senator, Pat Toomey, who said the tally of Biden’s win is accurate.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler may challenge the results in her state of Georgia. She was defeated in Georgia’s runoff to Democrat Raphael Warnock, but can remain a senator until he is sworn into office.

The other Senate runoff race between Republican David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff remained too early to call Wednesday, though Ossoff declared he won. Perdue, who was seeking reelection, is ineligible to vote in the Senate because his term expired with the start of the new Congress Sunday.

It’s unclear if any of the other senators will object to any other state, as lawmakers were still devising a strategy.

Democrats have the majority in the House, while the Republican-led Senate is divided over the issue. Bipartisan majorities in both chambers are expected to soundly reject the objections.

The group led by Cruz is vowing to object unless Congress agrees to form a commission to investigate the election, but that seems unlikely.

Those with Cruz are Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Steve Daines of Montana, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.

Many of the Republicans challenging the results said they are trying to give voice to voters back home who don’t trust the outcome of the election and want to see the lawmakers fighting for Trump.

Hawley defended his role saying his constituents have been “loud and clear” about their distrust of the election. “It is my responsibility as a senator to raise their concerns,” he wrote to colleagues.

As criticism mounted, Cruz insisted his aim was “not to set aside the election” but to investigate the claims of voting problems. He has produced no new evidence.

Both Hawley and Cruz are potential 2024 presidential contenders, vying for Trump’s base of supporters.

Lawmakers were told by Capitol officials to arrive early, due to safety precautions with protesters in Washington. Visitors, who typically fill the galleries to watch landmark proceedings, will not be allowed under COVID-19 restrictions.

___

Associated Press writers Kevin Freking in Dalton, Ga., and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.

Lisa Mascaro And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Joe BidenUSA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Barley Station Brewpub’s owners Stu and Kathy Bradford and longtime head chef Wally Bonn celebrated 15 years in business on Saturday, Jan. 23. (Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer)
Snapshot: Salmon Arm’s Barley Station Brewpub celebrates 15th year in business

The highwayside pub is lookign forward to the future.

The Salmon Arm Elks Lodge kept up their charitable giving despite COVID-19 restrictions by holding a successful 50/50 draw. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm Elks support charitable giving with succesful 50/50 draw

The winner of the draw took home over $4,000.

Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison is comfortable waiting his turn to be vaccinated for COVID-19, as per the B.C. government’s updated vaccination timeline released on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (File photo)
Province’s vaccine timeline a shot of hope for Salmon Arm mayor

Mayor Alan Harrison sees majority of residents taking precautions against COVID-19

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Veteran Henry Kriwokon has his photo taken by the Western as he celebrates his 99th birthday with friends at the Cellar in Downtown Penticton. (Brennan Phillips - Penticton Western News)
Turning 101, Penticton veteran looks back on life

Henry Kriwokon was one of the soldiers in the famous ‘Wait for me, Daddy’ photo

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

Members of BCEHS Station 343 in Lake Country receive a donation of treats and wine from the community in December. (Contributed)
‘Unexpected and heartwarming’: Okanagan community supports paramedics

Cards, discounts, treats, more given to Lake Country paramedics in sign of support

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

The North Okanagan Naturalists' Club completed its annual swan and eagle counts Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (Claude Rioux - NONC photo)
North Okanagan bird count shows decrease in swan and eagle numbers

Trumpeter swans were down 61 per cent from last year’s count; eagles down 14 per cent

Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis has served as the band’s chief since his first of six electoral wins in 1991. (File photo)
Okanagan Indian Band seeks nominations for upcoming election

A new OKIB chief and council will be elected March 30, 2021

Lake Country firefighters helped deliver a healthy newborn baby Thursday, Jan. 21, 2020. (Pixabay)
Lake Country firefighters help deliver baby boy

Firefighters from the Winfield hall assisted with the birth of a healthy newborn Thursday morning

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Skaha Middle School
Arrest made in indecent acts near South Okanagan schools

A 32-year-old man was arrested and released on strict conditions, say police

An individual at Rutland Senior Secondary school has tested positive for COVID-19. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Individual at Central Okanagan school tests positive for COVID-19

Authorities say the person is self-isolating at home with support from local health teams

Most Read