© Reuters. U.S. President-elect Biden campaigns for Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Ossoff and Warnock at a rally forward of runoff elections in Atlanta, Georgia
By Jan Wolfe
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress will convene on Wednesday to set the seal on President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in what is predicted to be an unusually contentious and drawn-out continuing due to deliberate objections by Republicans allied with President Donald Trump.
This is what to anticipate from the joint session of the Home of Representatives and the Senate.
What is occurring?
Each chambers of Congress are assembly to formally tally the Electoral School outcomes, the ultimate step within the months-long course of to pick the U.S. president. Vice-President Mike Pence will formally preside over the session.
The outcomes are primarily based on votes solid on Dec. 14 by slates of “electors” who met in every state to replicate the winner of that state’s common vote. A complete of 538 electoral votes are allotted to states and the District of Columbia primarily based on their congressional illustration. Biden captured 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.
The proceedings, which is able to kick off at 1 p.m. ET (18:00 GMT), are sometimes transient and ceremonial. This 12 months, it may drag into Thursday, as some Republicans plan to problem the lead to key states.
How will votes be learn and objections be dealt with?
Pence will open sealed certificates from the U.S. states and the District of Columbia that declare their electoral votes. Ought to Pence be unavailable, his duties may be carried out by the longest-serving senator within the majority social gathering, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers will learn the certificates out loud and formally tally the votes.
Objections to a state’s outcomes should be made in writing and endorsed by no less than one Senator and one member of Home of Consultant.
If this occurs, the joint session disbands and every chamber will maintain a two-hour debate and vote on every objection one after the opposite. A majority of every chamber should assist an objection for any electoral votes to be voided.
Republicans have instructed they are going to submit objections in writing to the outcomes of as many as six battleground states.
May Congress void Biden’s win?
If sufficient electoral votes had been voided, neither Biden nor Trump would have the 270 votes wanted to safe the presidency, and Congress would decide the subsequent president.
However there’s just about no likelihood of that taking place.
A majority of each chambers must assist an objection for electoral votes to be voided, and Democrats management the Home.
Even the Senate, managed by Republicans, is extremely unlikely to vote to void votes.
Senator Ted Cruz and no less than 11 different Republican senators are anticipated to reject electors. However many of the chamber’s 100 members, together with high-profile Republicans, have acknowledged Biden because the incoming president.
Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell, the physique’s prime Republican, acknowledged Biden’s victory on Dec. 15 and has urged different Republicans to chorus from objecting on Wednesday.
Can Pence award the election to Trump?
No. Pence’s position is ceremonial, and he does not have the facility to overturn the outcomes of the election regardless of being beneath stress from Trump to take action.
Marc Brief, Pence’s chief of workers, mentioned on Monday that whereas the vice chairman welcomed lawmakers’ authority to lift objections and “carry ahead proof earlier than the Congress and the American folks,” he won’t deviate from his position.
“He … will uphold the Structure and observe the statutory regulation,” Brief advised Reuters on Monday.
Within the extraordinarily unlikely occasion that Pence voids electoral school votes, his actions would virtually definitely be challenged in court docket.
On Friday, a federal choose threw out a lawsuit introduced by Consultant Louie Gohmert that sought to permit Pence to declare Trump the victor.