Republicans on the congressional panel planning inauguration ceremonies blocked a resolution stating that they were preparing for the swearing-in of President-elect Joe Biden, as President Donald Trump’s continues his bitter battle over the election result.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Roy Blunt and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy voted against the resolution in the six-member committee, which is evenly split between the two parties, infuriating the panel’s Democratic members.
“The extent to which Republicans are refusing to accept the outcome of the election and recognize Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice president is astounding,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota are the committee’s other Democrats.
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inauguration Ceremonies plans the official ceremonies for the swearing-in of the president every four years. This year, Trump is refusing to concede his loss in the November election, claiming without evidence that the vote was rigged.
Blunt, the committee’s chairman, dismissed Hoyer’s complaint, saying, “It is not the job of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies to get ahead of the electoral process and decide who we are inaugurating.”
Almost all of the legal challenges brought by Trump’s campaign have been rejected by courts, and all of the battleground states where Trump tried to contest the results have certified their presidential election tallies and appointed their electors for Biden, giving him more than the 270 Electoral College votes needed to claim the presidency.
The resolution Hoyer introduced at panel’s meeting sought approval for the committee “to notify the American people that we are preparing for the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden Jr., and his Vice President, Kamala Harris, in coordination with the Biden Presidential Inaugural Committee and public health experts to ensure the health and safety of the American people as we observe this transition of power.”
Hoyer told reporters the resolution was a recognition — in conjunction with the Biden team and health experts, amid the continued coronavirus concerns — that limits should be placed on the numbers of participants at inaugural events.
He said the timing of the resolution to reporters was tied to Tuesday being the so-called safe-harbor deadline for states to certify their slates of electors to the Electoral College. Hoyer said “there is no serious dispute” that Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20.
Blunt said the panel is “facing the challenge of planning safe Inaugural Ceremonies during a global pandemic. I would hope that, going forward, the members of the JCCIC would adhere to the committee’s long-standing tradition of bipartisan cooperation and focus on the task at hand.”