Schumer Slams Suggestions of Reforming Electoral Count Act Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. (Drew Angerer/Getty)
By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 06 January 2022 01:24 PM
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday blasted Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's suggestion of reforming the Electoral Count Act.
McConnell, R-Ky., fellow Republicans, and two moderate Democrats on Wednesday endorsed pursuing changes to the 1887 law that allows members of Congress to dispute election results, Politico reported.
"It obviously has some flaws. And it is worth, I think, discussing," McConnell said Wednesday, Politico reported.
Schumer, D-N.Y., shot down the suggestion while progressives seek more sweeping voting rights legislation. He said talk of amending the Electoral Count Act was designed to "divert attention from the real issue."
"Let me take this opportunity to make clear that that plan — the McConnell plan, that's what it is — is unacceptably insufficient, and even offensive," Schumer said while speaking from the Senate floor on Thursday.
"Sen. McConnell's plan to reform the Electoral Count Act would do nothing more than codify the vice president's ceremonial role in counting the Electoral College votes, effectively guaranteeing that partisan state legislatures could overturn the elections without fear of recourse."
Senate Democrats are being pressured by outside progressive groups to pass voting rights legislation. However, in a chamber split evenly along party lines, Schumer needs every member of his caucus to support the measure.
Schumer has said Democrats have "lots of ways" to pass two voting rights bills — including by changing the rules governing a filibuster.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., told reporters Tuesday that it was his "preference" to line up Republican support for a rule change that would allow Democrats to pass a voting rights bill on a party-line vote. But GOP members oppose that legislation.
Both Manchin and fellow moderate Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., said Wednesday that they thought the Electoral Count Act reform could be used as a springboard to putting together a bipartisan bill.
"Sen. Sinema continues to believe bipartisan action is needed to strengthen our democracy and has been in constant contact with colleagues in both parties on this and other potential areas of common ground," Sinema's Communications Director John LaBombard said, according to Politico.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., said, "There have been some expressions of interest" among fellow Republicans with narrowing Congress or the vice president’s ability to change election results.
"The role of the vice president needs to be codified, so it's clear what that is," Thune said, Politico reported. "There's some question about how many senators or House members it ought to take to object before it triggers a vote."