Speed Reads

never again

Bipartisan group of senators unveils 2 bills designed to smooth presidential transitions

A bipartisan group of senators unveiled an agreement on Wednesday for a pair of bills that would ease contested transitions of power and make it more difficult to overturn the results of an election.

According to CNN, "one bill is focused on modernizing and overhauling" the Electoral Count Act of 1887, while the other stipulates that if "neither candidate concedes within five days of Election Day, both candidates would be able to receive access to federal transition resources" until the dispute is resolved.

After he lost in 2020, former President Donald Trump pressured then-Vice President Mike Pence to exploit ambiguities in the ECA to hand him the election. Trump lawyer John Eastman's strategy to pull this off rested on the claim that the ECA is "likely unconstitutional" as currently written.

Emily Murphy — who headed the General Services Administration under Trump — spent the weeks after the election refusing to give then-President-elect Joe Biden and his team access to the funds and resources they needed to ensure an orderly transfer of power.

The negotiations that led to the two proposed bills were led by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), who hammered out the deal along with 14 other senators — six Democrats and eight Republicans. The measure needs 60 votes to overcome the filibuster, meaning at least 10 Republicans will have to vote for it. Assuming all the GOP senators who worked on the agreement vote for it, they'll just need to convince one more.