Congress set to confirm Biden victory over Republican protests

Congress set to confirm Biden victory over Republican protests

A joint session of Congress is set to convene Wednesday afternoon to officially confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory despite the prospect of objections from a majority of congressional Republicans.

The proceedings will begin at 1 p.m. Eastern time and will be presided over by Vice President Mike Pence in his constitutional role as president of the Senate.

Speaking to supportive demonstrators outside the White House, President Donald Trump again claimed Wednesday that Pence has the power to unilaterally accept or reject presidential election results from any state he chooses, though that idea has been rejected by constitutional scholars and even, according to news reports, the vice president himself.

“All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify, and we become president,” Trump told his supporters. “We will never give up. We will never concede.”

At least 12 Republican senators and potentially upwards of 140 House Republicans will formally object in writing to the electoral results submitted by battleground states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia and Nevada, according to reports.

If both a House member and a senator object to a slate of state electors, the joint session will recess and both the Senate and House of Representatives will debate the question for a maximum of two hours. If Republicans force two hours of debate for each of the half-dozen states that they seek to depict as in question, it could mean the proceedings drag on into the early hours of Thursday morning.

After that time, each chamber will hold a vote by simple majority on whether to accept or reject the objection. Given that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and several other prominent Republicans in the Senate have urged their colleagues not to mount these challenges, it’s unlikely that even a Republican Senate would vote to accept such an objection.

With Democrats in control of the House of Representatives, it’s a still greater stretch to imagine that the body would vote to reject any state’s slate of Biden electors. According to federal law, for a state’s slate of electors to be rejected, both houses of Congress would have to agree to do so.

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