The good news is that the House now has a bill to update the 1887 Electoral Count Act, the antiquated law implicated in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Even better, the legislation unveiled this week by Republican Liz Cheney and Democrat Zoe Lofgren reads like it’s an improvement, in some respects, of the Senate version.
The House plan says the Vice President’s role when Congress tallies the Electoral College “is ministerial.” The VP can’t on his own “order any delay in counting.” This responds to President Trump’s claim in 2020 that Mike Pence could seize control of the joint session. Mr. Trump’s legal argument relied on a lack of clarity in the 12th Amendment, which can’t be fixed by statute. Still, it would be helpful to have Mr. Trump’s theory contradicted by the law and Congress’s explicit procedure.