bennie thompson and liz cheney
Photo by Mandel Ngan at AFP

On Monday, POLITICO reported that the House and Senate are facing down the task of reconciling their differences as both chambers have now released competing bipartisan proposals to reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887 — the flawed law that former President Donald Trump and his allies tried to exploit to steal the 2020 presidential election, and which culminated in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

"Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), members of the Jan. 6 select committee, outlined a proposal Monday aimed at preventing rogue state officials and members of Congress from subverting the transfer of presidential power," reported Nicholas Wu, Kyle Cheney, Marianne Levine, and Jordain Carney. "That plan is likely to set up an intense period of wrangling with the Senate, which in July teed up a competing bill that boasts bipartisan support, including the 10 GOP co-sponsors necessary to overcome a filibuster."

According to the report, both bills are similar, clarifying that the vice president doesn't have the authority to throw out presidential electors and limiting the ability of state governments to refuse to certify elections.

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But the House bill requires one-third of the House to consider an objection to the vote count, versus one-fifth for the Senate, and the House bill also goes into more detail about what kinds of "catastrophic" events allow a state to prolong its voting period, and the circumstances under which states can be sued for changing election rules.

"At the heart of the split is the internal politics of both chambers," said the report. "The House, driven by the Jan. 6 select committee’s probe, has made the focus of its legislative efforts explicitly about preventing a Trumpian sequel to Jan. 6, while the Senate has cast its effort as a more holistic bipartisan attempt to put a new, clarifying shine on a rusty law at the heart of the democratic process. The House’s bill includes a section of 'findings' describing the basis for the proposal as rooted in Trump’s efforts on Jan. 6; the Senate version has nothing similar."

All of this comes as the House Select Committee on January 6 has announced the intent to resume hearings on September 28. Previous hearings over the summer revealed never-before-released footage of the rioters attacking police officers, and testimony from White House officials like Cassidy Hutchinson further detailing the actions of the former president that day in support of the attack.