Final Electoral College Objections Dispatched In Late Night Session After Day Of Mayhem In DC

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Cory Booker, Michael Bennet
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
After violent protesters loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., left, and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., join other senators as they return to the House chamber to continue the joint session of the House and Senate and count the Electoral College votes cast in November’s election, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.

Congress rejected objections to the Electoral College count and certified Joe Biden as president-elect early Thursday morning, hours after pro-Trump extremists interrupted the process by breaking into the U.S. Capitol building.

Both Democratic Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, and Democratic Reps. Jason Crow, Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter voted against the objections.

Republican Rep. Ken Buck voted against the Arizona objection, and did not vote on the Pennsylvania objection.

Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert and Doug Lamborn voted for them.

After Congress certified the results a statement from President Donald Trump was released via a White House aide's Twitter account. While the president again falsely stated that “the facts bear me out” a commitment was made to “an orderly transition on Jan. 20.”

Bennet spoke on the Senate floor when debate resumed after the Capitol was cleared of rioters. Reminders of their presence remained all around the building: garbage strewn on the floor, broken windows, a thin film of dust coating the marble floors.

The state’s senior senator urged his fellow legislators to send a strong message when they took up their interrupted vote on the Arizona objection.

“It is my fervent hope that the way that we respond to this today, my dear colleagues, is that we give the biggest bipartisan vote we can in support of our democracy, and in support of our Constitution, and in rejection for what we saw today,” he said.

That’s what he got. The Senate rejected the Arizona objection 93 to 6. And later the chamber rejected the Pennsylvania objection 92 to 7.

Bennet hopes Wednesday’s events serve as a wake-up call for Congress, to be more functional and move more quickly on issues of bipartisan concern.

“This is the sort of the bare minimum of what we're supposed to do as a society, which is the peaceful transfer of power,” he said. “But there are lots of other things that we haven't been doing for a long time, like investing in our infrastructure, investing in our human capital.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Boebert, a strong ally of Trump, helped present the dissenters’ argument for why Arizona’s electoral votes should not be counted. She took issue with a judge’s order to extend Arizona’s voter registration deadline due to the pandemic. She called it “a travesty.”

“If we allow state election laws, as set forth by state legislatures, to be ignored or manipulated on the whims of partisan lawsuits, unelected bureaucrats, unlawful procedures and arbitrary rules” she shouted on the floor, “then our Constitutional Republic will cease to exist.”

Noting that she had constituents in the crowd of protestors outside of the Capitol building, she said she had promised “her voters to be their voice.” The representative for Colorado’s sprawling 3rd Congressional District said, “they know that this election is not right.”

But Rep. Joe Neguse, who was tapped by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to help lead the debate against the objection, said people are talking about “vague claims of fraud.”

“No substance, no evidence, no facts, no explanation,” he said, noting the vast number of legal challenges have gone nowhere.

“The people of Arizona, like so much of the country, spoke clearly and resoundingly… and over 81 million Americans selected Joe Biden as president,” Neguse said.

As debate against the Pennsylvania objection started after midnight, Neguse again argued that the Constitution was clear about Congress’ role. It’s responsible for counting the vote, nothing more.

Noting the long, harrowing day, Neguse was blunt.

“Let’s dispense with this,” he said. He urged lawmakers to honor their oath to the Constitution and certify the vote. After a debate that stretched into the early hours, they did.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect that Rep. Ken Buck was recorded as not voting on the second objection.