House

McCarthy says he supports effort to challenge Electoral College results

Bonnie Cash

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Sunday expressed support for conservatives’ efforts to challenge the outcome of the Electoral College when Congress meets Jan. 6 to certify the results.

“I think it’s right that we have the debate. I mean, you see now that senators are going to object, the House is going to object — how else do we have a way to change the election problems?” McCarthy told The Hill on Sunday.  

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who is leading the charge in the lower chamber, announced his plans to contest the results last month, repeating President Trump’s claims the election was stolen from him, despite producing no evidence showing widespread voter fraud.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) announced he is also willing to object, providing Brooks with a member of the upper chamber required to move forward with debate. A number of other House Republicans and a dozen GOP members of the Senate have also said they will back the challenge.

Proponents of the challenge have said that despite courts overwhelmingly rejecting the Trump campaign’s legal challenges, Congress should hold jurisdiction over the matter. They argue Jan. 6 will provide the opportunity to lay out the president’s case.  

While McCarthy supports the efforts, a number of House GOP lawmakers have pushed back. 

House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the No. 3 GOP lawmaker in the House, sent a memo to her colleagues denouncing the move, arguing it sets a dangerous precedent and sows doubts in democracy. 

“As you will see, there is substantial reason for concern about the precedent Congressional objections will set here. By objecting to electoral slates, members are unavoidably asserting that Congress has the authority to overturn elections and overrule state and federal courts,” she wrote. 

“Such objections set an exceptionally dangerous precedent, threatening to steal states’ explicit constitutional responsibility for choosing the President and bestowing it instead on Congress. This is directly at odds with the Constitution’s clear text and our core beliefs as Republicans,” she added. “Democrats have long attempted, unconstitutionally, to federalize every element of our nation—including elections. Republicans should not embrace Democrats’ unconstitutional position on these issues.”  

And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) previously urged Republicans in the upper chamber not to object to the results, telling members in December that it “isn’t in the best interest of everybody.” McConnell has recognized Joe Biden as the president-elect. 

One GOP lawmaker told The Hill that upwards of 140 House Republicans could potentially join Brooks in contesting the results. 

Updated at 5:41 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden Josh Hawley Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney Mitch McConnell Mo Brooks

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