Inauguration committee Republicans sink Democrats’ resolution acknowledging Biden victory

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Republican leaders on Tuesday shot down a Democratic resolution formally recognizing Joe Biden’s presidential victory, highlighting the dilemma facing GOP lawmakers leery of breaking with President Trump, who refuses to acknowledge defeat.

The vote occurred behind closed doors in the Capitol, among members of a bipartisan committee charged with planning the presidential inauguration ceremony on the Capitol grounds. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.), a member of the panel, had proposed a motion empowering the committee to “notify the American people” of plans “for the inauguration of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris,” the Democrat said as he was leaving the meeting.

The resolution also would have set limits on attendance at the Jan. 20 event, in consultation with public health experts, to prevent crowding amid a surge in coronavirus cases around the country.

The vote failed on a partisan vote, three to three. All the Republicans on the committee — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) — voted against the motion. Hoyer was joined in support by the two other Democrats on the panel, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.).

Hoyer said there was agreement on the notion of limiting public participation at next month’s inauguration.

“I think there was a consensus that we’re going to limit far beyond what we’d like to do,” he told reporters.

The Republican opposition, he charged, was rooted in the GOP’s “refusing to accept the outcome of the election” and the party’s “deference to President Trump’s post-election temper tantrums.”

“[Their position] threatens our democracy and undermines faith in our system of elections,” Hoyer said in a statement later.

Republicans defended their position afterward, arguing that Democrats were getting ahead of the process, since the state electors don’t vote to formalize the presidential results until Dec. 14. Blunt accused Democrats of politicizing the committee’s mundane role in planning the inaugural event.

“It is not the job of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies to get ahead of the electoral process and decide who we are inaugurating,” Blunt said in a statement. “The JCCIC is facing the challenge of planning safe Inaugural Ceremonies during a global pandemic. I would hope that, going forward, the members of the JCCIC would adhere to the committee’s long-standing tradition of bipartisan cooperation and focus on the task at hand.”

Tuesday’s vote came as Trump continues to claim, falsely, that the election was rigged by a conspiracy of state election workers, foreign governments and election technology companies all fighting to tip the scale toward Biden. There has been no evidence of election tampering in any state, however, and even Republican officials overseeing the process have rejected Trump’s claims with increasingly urgent appeals for voters to accept the results.

Still, those state-based appeals have not found much audience among Capitol Hill Republicans, who have overwhelmingly declined to recognize Trump’s defeat more than a month after the election.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a staunch Trump ally, said Tuesday that he won’t weigh in on any Biden Cabinet appointees until Dec. 14, suggesting the election outcome will remain inconclusive until then.

“I’m not going to comment on any Biden nominees until Dec. 14 and then I’ll tell you,” he told reporters.

Asked if it’s time for Trump to concede, Graham was equally evasive.

“I’ll talk to you December the 14th.”

Tags Amy Klobuchar Biden transition Donald Trump Inauguration Inauguration committee JCCIC Joe Biden Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies Kevin McCarthy Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Roy Blunt Steny Hoyer
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