In a last-ditch effort to derail Donald Trump’s presidency ahead of inauguration, a group of Democratic lawmakers, led by Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, attempted to challenge the electoral votes Friday.
Members of the House and Senate gathered for a joint session of Congress to certify the electoral votes — which is supposed to mark the official end to the election process. Vice President Joe Biden, who was presiding over the proceedings, quickly shut down the objections.
“It is over,” he said as Rep. Pramila Jayapal attempted to challenge Georgia’s electoral votes.
Jayapal said she understands Biden’s decision, but would have liked to have been given the opportunity to speak.
“He’s the president of the Senate, but I do wish that he had allowed us to just get out our objection — I don’t believe that would have been a problem to allow us to get out the actual basis of the challenge,” she told reporters.
Lee echoed Jayapal’s comments, saying she respects Biden’s decision to reject requests for debate, but wishes he would have broken the rules in this instance.
Under current congressional procedure, a senator’s signature is required for the objection to be taken into consideration. Despite the attempts to sway members in the upper chamber, none of them obliged.
Russian interference and voter suppression led to Trump’s victory, Lee says, adding that she thinks there are major issues with the Electoral College.
“When I was speaking to senators, there were those who were enormously sympathetic about the research that they have begun to do, which showed how much voted suppression existed,” she told reporters.
Despite Congress certifying the results, Lee said she isn’t done looking into the legitimacy of the election.
“We’re going to continue this. I will say that I engaged with a senator in particular, and we’ve committed that we are going to take this call for dealing with voter suppression in an ongoing legislative flight and not let the enormous amount of voter suppression that occurred go silently into the night,” she said, opting not to disclose which member she was collaborating with on the measure.
The last time members of Congress challenged election results was in 2005, when Ohio Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones and California Sen. Barbara Boxer challenged Ohio’s electoral votes, which led to extensive debate before the votes were deemed valid.
House Speaker Paul Ryan slammed those attempting to undermine the legitimacy of Trump’s win during his weekly press conference Thursday, saying the president-elect won fair and square.
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