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Lawmakers say work certifying Biden win to continue tonight

Lawmakers say work certifying Biden win to continue tonight
© Julia Nikhinson

Despite the extraordinary violence and chaos that struck the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, lawmakers in both parties and both chambers said Congress will continue the work of certifying Joe BidenJoe BidenThe West needs a more collaborative approach to Taiwan Abbott's medical advisers were not all consulted before he lifted Texas mask mandate House approves George Floyd Justice in Policing Act MORE's presidential victory later in the evening. 

"I have faced violent hatred before," House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said in a tweet. "I was not deterred then, and I will not be deterred now. Tonight, Congress will continue the business of certifying the electoral college votes."

In the upper chamber, Sen. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior reverses Trump policy that it says restricted science | Collins to back Haaland's Interior nomination | Republicans press Biden environment nominee on Obama-era policy Republicans press Biden environment nominee on Obama-era policy OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine MORE (R-N.D.) said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks DOJ declined to take up Chao ethics probe Trump was unhinged and unchanged at CPAC MORE (R-Ky.) is also telling senators to expect the process to continue Wednesday night. 

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"We're going to finish tonight. Everyone is committed to staying whatever it takes to get our job done," said Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOn The Money: Democrats deals to bolster support for relief bill | Biden tries to keep Democrats together | Retailers fear a return of the mask wars Democrats cut deals to bolster support for relief bill Progressives grumble but won't sink relief bill over fewer stimulus checks MORE (D-W.Va.).

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Democrats deals to bolster support for relief bill | Biden tries to keep Democrats together | Retailers fear a return of the mask wars Here's who Biden is now considering for budget chief Biden urges Democrats to advocate for rescue package MORE (D-Calif.) later confirmed the decision, describing what happened at the Capitol as "a shameful assault" on democracy, but one that could not "deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden."

"To that end, in consultation with Leader Hoyer and Whip Clyburn and after calls to the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the Vice President, we have decided we should proceed tonight at the Capitol once it is cleared for use," she said.

She also said she was hoping for a shorter agenda, a nod toward the possibility that some GOP senators might not object to the Electoral College results in certain states. Each objection joined by a House lawmaker and senator triggers a two-hour debate. 

"We now will be part of history, as such a shameful picture of our country was put out to the world, instigated at the highest level," Pelosi said. 

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Rep. Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseBiden's COVID, border policies prove he's serious about neither Republican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC Merrick Garland is right to prioritize domestic terrorism, but he'll need a bigger boat MORE (R-La.), the minority whip, earlier had told Fox News that the process "needs to" continue immediately. "I'm confident we will," he said.

The violent actions by rioters left many lawmakers shaken and shell-shocked, and there was early speculation that the process of affirming the Electoral College votes might be pushed until later in the week. 

Yet, there's also an emerging sense among lawmakers that delaying the process, even for a day, would send the message that the mob had won. Resuming the votes Wednesday night, they argued, would send just the opposite message: that the nation's democratic institutions remain strong even under direct attack.

It was that sentiment that ultimately won out.  

"In the face of violence, it’s even more important we get the count done," said one Republican lawmaker.

Al Weaver contributed.