The cases of a member of the House and a senator teaming up are rarer and last occurred in 2005. If that happened, the joint session would immediately halt so that lawmakers could return to their own. respective chambers to debate the objection for up to two hours. They would then vote on whether to reject the election results of the state in question. Both houses are expected to agree to reject the votes, which has not happened since the era of reconstruction.
“By ensuring that both houses have to reject a submission, you reduce the risk of Congress becoming electoralist and repudiating a state’s results,” said Edward B. Foley, professor of constitutional law at Ohio State University who studies the electoral process.
Win or lose, Trump’s allies may succeed in casting a shadow over Biden’s victory.
Mr. Trump’s allies, led by Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama, aim to challenge five states – Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Wisconsin – where they say widespread electoral fraud occurred, despite the fact that all five states have certified that the results are valid and that there is no evidence of any generalized irregularity.
The key will be to recruit a Republican senator to join them, and so far none have publicly committed to doing so. Without a senator, their efforts will quickly fail and Mr Biden could be officially declared president-elect in less than an hour.
If a senator signs to challenge the results, Republicans could force Congress to engage in a final, messy debate over Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede defeat and his baseless allegations of electoral fraud, which have been flatly rejected by the courts .
Given Democrats ‘control over the House and Republicans’ slim majority in the Senate, hardly anyone expects to have the votes to successfully disqualify a state – let alone five. But debate and voting alone would put Republicans in a difficult position, forcing them to choose between an uncompromising president and their belief in the electoral process. Their choices could likely go a long way in shaping the future course of the party, faith in the U.S. elections, and the perceived legitimacy of a Biden presidency by the Republican base.
Pence can have the most uncomfortable job of all.
At the end of the process, it will be up to Mr. Pence to declare Mr. Biden the winner once and for all, albeit in tangled prose.