With Donald Trump eyeing another White House run, Pat Toomey joined nine other Senate Republicans in backing legislation designed to prevent a repeat of 2020.
A day after the US House passed legislation to overhaul the rules for certifying the results of a presidential election, Pennsylvania’s Republican US Senator Pat Toomey told the Philadelphia Inquirer he would sponsor a bipartisan version of the bill in the Senate.
Toomey would be the 10th Republican to co-sponsor of the Electoral Count Reform Act. His backing would give the measure enough GOP support to avoid a filibuster and pass the Senate if all 50 Democrats also support the plan.
Both versions of the bill essentially seek to overhaul an arcane 1800s-era statute known as the Electoral Count Act that governs, along with the US Constitution, how states and Congress certify electors and declare presidential election winners.
Former President Donald Trump and a group of his aides and lawyers unsuccessfully tried to exploit loopholes in the law in an attempt to overturn his defeat to Joe Biden in the 2020 election. Democrats are pushing to pass the bill before the end of the year and ahead of the 2024 election cycle as Trump is considering another White House run.
Both the House and Senate bills would clarify that the vice president’s role presiding over the congressional certification every Jan. 6 after a presidential election is “ministerial” and that he or she has no power to determine the results of the election—an effort to make that point emphatically in the law after Trump and some of his allies put massive pressure on former Vice President Mike Pence.
The two bills would also make it more difficult for lawmakers to object to a particular state’s electoral votes. Specifically, the Senate bill seeks to ensure that there is one “single, conclusive slate of electors,” a response to the unsuccessful efforts of Trump allies—like Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano—to create alternate, illegitimate slates of Trump electors in states that Biden narrowly won in 2020, like Pennsylvania.
While Toomey consistently supported Trump’s policies and voted for him in 2016 and 2020, he vehemently opposed efforts by congressional Republicans to overturn the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania.
Toomey, who is not seeking reelection, was also one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump in his impeachment trial after the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol.
Not a single Pennsylvania Republican supported the House version, which passed 229-203.
Despite not voting in favor of the House version, Republican US Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Bucks) has come out in support of the Senate version.
A Senate vote is not likely until after the Nov. 8 midterm elections.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.