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Congress approves a government financing bill with electoral reforms to avoid another January 6


The legislation funds the government until next fall, authorizes new US aid to Ukraine and rewrites the 1887 Electoral Recount Act to prevent attempts to overturn election results.

By Sahil Kapur -

NBC News

WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders unveiled a bipartisan government funding bill early Tuesday that includes redrafting of federal election laws aimed at preventing another January 6-style bombing and preventing future candidates from stealing the elections.

They hope to approve the bill, the result of lengthy negotiations between the two parties, in the coming days to avoid a government shutdown scheduled for this weekend.

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The legislation comes just a day after the House committee held its last public meeting on January 6, in which it issued criminal recommendations for former President Donald Trump and alleged that he organized “a multi-part plan to nullify the results and block the transfer of power” after losing the 2020 election. But unlike the panel's recommendations, the bill's provisions would have the force of law.

The massive $1.7 trillion spending package funds federal agencies through next fall.

It includes additional US aid to Ukraine, which is struggling to keep Russia at bay in the ongoing war.

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The Senate is expected to vote first and send the legislation to the House of Representatives.

It could be the last major bill to pass this year before Republicans take control of the House of Representatives on January 3.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who is courting the votes of anti-spending conservatives to become Speaker of the House next year, has tried to torpedo the package and delay the matter until the Republicans take control.

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He has pressured GOP lawmakers to vote against it, forcing Democrats to provide a majority of votes to pass it in the House.

The bill has more bipartisan support in the Senate, where it is expected to get the 60 votes it needs to overcome a filibuster.

Capitol Hill leaders decided to attach the election bill and aid to Ukraine to ease the approval process, in the belief that the combined package has the necessary votes to pass.

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“I am confident that both sides can find things in it that they can enthusiastically support,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said Monday, calling the spending bill “the last big point in our to-do list” this year before going on vacation.

"It's not going to be everything everyone wanted," he clarified.

But Schumer said another interim bill would "leave the country in the lurch" and that a government shutdown would be worse.

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The bill's release was delayed by several hours due to a stumbling block related to the location of the future FBI headquarters, a matter of dispute between Maryland and Virginia.

Other points that the Democrats wanted - such as provisions on immigration, banking measures on cannabis and an extension of tax relief for children - were left out of the agreement.

Prevent future coup attempts

The election legislation attached to the funding bill would close loopholes in federal law that Trump and his allies tried to exploit on January 6, 2021, to stay in power despite his election loss to President Joe Biden.

It would revise the Voter Recount Act of 1887 to clarify that the vice president's role is simply to count votes, and it would raise the threshold for forcing a vote to challenge a state's electoral votes of a member of the House of Representatives and Senate to one-fifth part of each chamber.

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It would also strengthen laws regarding state certification of elections, in an attempt to prevent future rival voter lists, and facilitate the presidential transition process.

The ballot measure was announced in July by a bipartisan group led by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and has 38 supporters in the Senate, 16 of them Republicans.

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He is backed by McConnell, who declared in September that “the chaos that broke out on January 6 of last year highlighted the need to update” the 1887 law. This fall it passed committee with some revisions for 14 votes in favor and 1 against, with the only opposition being Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas.

"It's good.

It's progress,” Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said of the voter review measure, before warning that protecting American democracy will require more than just new law.

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“We have to understand that there is a movement of well-funded people who will not be affected by a new law,” Schatz said.

“So we have to remain vigilant, even if we pass the Voter Recount Act, because these people were already trying to figure out how to get around the Constitution and federal law.

And they will continue to do so,” he added.

"A concern of mine"

For Democrats, the legislation concludes their trifecta era of government control with a detailed funding package and settles the question of needing approval until the end of 2023, avoiding a round of



strategy of going to the extreme] at the beginning of the new year with a House of Representatives governed by the Republican Party.

Two of the main negotiators on the package - Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, and Vice President Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama - will retire at the end of the year after decades of service and were highly motivated to close the deal. .

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For Republicans, one incentive to pass the law now is that it funds the Army at a higher level than the non-defense budget.

"It's a good result for the Republicans," declared Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arguing that the GOP persuaded Democrats to back down from their long-standing demand for "parity" between the two. money funds.

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said the imbalance between military and non-military money concerned her and that there are "others" who think like her. But she said the bill may be preferable to having to deal with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives next year.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2022-12-20

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