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Congress Will Meet To Certify Presidential Election Vote Tally

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Today, numerous Republican members of the House and Senate go on record against a democratic election. Congress formally affirms Joe Biden's election as president. The election was certified by all 50 states and upheld in court. It's rare to have a fact so thoroughly confirmed. But numerous senators and representatives say they will object. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri was explicit about his motive on Fox News.

(SOUNDBITE OF FOX NEWS BROADCAST)

BRET BAIER: Are you trying to say that as of January 20 that President Trump will be president?

JOSH HAWLEY: Well, Bret, that depends on what happens on Wednesday. I mean, this is why we have the debate. This is why we have...

BAIER: No, it doesn't. I mean, the...

NOEL KING, HOST:

Bret Baier explains that under the Constitution, the states pick presidential electors, not Congress. In a press release, Hawley said some Democrats have objected to past elections. And that is true. In 2017, a few House Democrats objected to the election of Donald Trump. So let's listen to what happened then. It was a formal process overseen, as always, by the vice president.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOE BIDEN: The tellers will announce the votes cast by the electors of each state, beginning with the state of Alabama.

KING: The vice president was Joe Biden.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ROY BLUNT: Mr. President, the certificate of the electoral vote of the state of Alabama seems to be regular in form and authentic. It appears, therefore, that Donald J. Trump of the state of New York received nine votes for president. And Michael R. Pence of the state of Indiana received nine votes for vice president.

INSKEEP: But as the roll call proceeded, a few Democrats spoke up.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BIDEN: But for what purpose does the gentleman from Massachusetts rise?

JIM MCGOVERN: Mr. President, I object to the certificate from the state of Alabama.

INSKEEP: A lawmaker questioned the results because Russia aided Trump's election, which Russia did. But Americans still voted for him. More important for this process, Vice President Biden said the objection needed to be in proper form.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BIDEN: Is the objection in writing and signed not only by the member of the House of Representatives, but also by a senator?

MCGOVERN: Mr. President, the objection is in writing, signed by a member of the House of Representatives, but not yet by a member of the United States Senate.

BIDEN: In that case, the objection cannot be entertained.

INSKEEP: Biden made this ruling again and again.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JAMIE RASKIN: Electoral votes cast by Florida were cast by electors not lawfully certified because they violated Florida's prohibition against dual office holding.

BIDEN: The debate is out of order.

KING: Finally, there was an objection over the vote from Georgia.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BIDEN: The objection cannot be entertained.

PRAMILA JAYAPAL: Mr. President, the objection is signed by a member of the House, but not yet by a member of the Senate.

BIDEN: Well, it is over.

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

INSKEEP: Lawmakers in Congress, including Republicans, applauded that ruling by Joe Biden in 2017. And that election was certified after a short time.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEIL COWLEY TRIO'S "ROOSTER WAS A WITNESS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.