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House joins Senate in rejecting objection to Biden’s Pennsylvania win

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.Amanda Voisard/Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has joined the Senate in turning aside Republican objections to Pennsylvania’s electoral vote for President-elect Joe Biden.

Lawmakers in the House voted 282-138 against the objection as the counting of Electoral College votes continued into the early hours of Thursday morning. The Senate shut down the same objection 92-7 just after midnight, and unlike the House, declined to debate before voting.

After a long day dominated by pro-Trump rioters’ deadly storming of the Capitol, it was the second state for which a group of Republicans tried and failed to reverse the will of voters. Some GOP lawmakers have backed President Donald Trump’s bogus claims that the election was fraudulent.

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Those objecting to Pennsylvania’s votes included 80 House Republicans and Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley, who is considered a potential 2024 presidential contender.

A few hours prior, the Senate also killed Republican objections to Pennsylvania’s electoral vote for President-elect Joe Biden.

Senators voted 92-7 after midnight to derail the GOP attempt to overturn Pennsylvania’s support for the Democrat.

In a long day dominated by pro-Trump rioters’ deadly storming of the Capitol, it’s the second state for which a group of Republicans tried and failed to reverse the will of voters. Some GOP lawmakers have backed President Donald Trump’s bogus claims that the election was fraudulent.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he believes no other states’ votes will be challenged. That means Congress’ formal certification of Biden’s victory could finish quickly once the House votes on the Pennsylvania challenge.

The Senate rejected the effort to cancel Pennsylvania’s votes without any debate.

Those objecting to Pennsylvania’s votes included 80 House Republicans and Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley, who is considered a potential 2024 presidential contender.

The House has also voted overwhelmingly to reject an objection to President-elect Joe Biden’s win in Arizona, joining the Senate in upholding the results of the election there.

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The objection failed 303-121 on Wednesday night, with only Republicans voting in support.

Earlier Wednesday, supporters of President Donald Trump breached the US Capitol, forcing a lockdown of the lawmakers and staff inside. Trump has claimed widespread voter fraud to explain away his defeat to Biden, though election officials have said there wasn’t any.

Now that Arizona is out of the way, Congress will reconvene as the joint session and make its way through the rest of the states that have objections.

The Senate rejected the challenge to Arizona’s Elector College votes about an hour before the House did. The objection was the first that was lodged as Congress began counting the electoral votes that will ratify Biden’s victory and end Trump’s efforts to overturn the results. There were 93 senators voting against the objection and six voting for it.

Although their move was doomed to fail, a group of House and Senate Republicans had been expected to challenge Biden’s electoral votes from Georgia and Pennsylvania as well before the violence stopped the proceedings. Yet in the wake of the shocking disruption that lasted several hours, several of them said they were dropping the effort.

“When I arrived in Washington this morning I fully intended to object to the certification of the electoral votes,” said Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler, who will be leaving the Senate after losing a runoff election on Tuesday. “However, the events that transpired have forced me to reconsider, and I cannot now in good conscience object to the certification of these electors.”

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However Senator Josh Hawley will object to Pennsylvania once Congress returns to the joint session, according to his office. However when the Senate and House go back to their chambers for the debate on Pennsylvania, he will yield his speaking time to move toward a vote shortening the process.

The counting of the electors’ votes is normally a formality but became contentious this year after Trump refused to concede his Nov. 3 defeat on the baseless grounds that the election was “rigged.” He urged his supporters to descend on Washington on Wednesday to pressure Vice President Mike Pence and Republican lawmakers to reject Biden’s electoral votes.Pence, who is presiding over the electoral count in a joint session of Congress and refused Trump’s calls for him to subvert the process, called it a “dark day” in Washington as he gaveled the Senate back in session Wednesday night.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who had sought to prevent the objections to Biden’s electoral votes, said earlier Wednesday that it was Congress’s job under the Constitution to accept the results and ratify Biden’s victory.

After the chamber resumed debate, McConnell said the counting would be completed “by the book” and “we will certify the winner of the 2020 presidential election.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.