Republicans on Inaugural Committee Reject Motion Recognizing Biden as President-Elect

Republicans responsible for organizing the 2021 inauguration ceremony have refused to officially recognize they are planning the event for President-elect Joe Biden.

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, which is made up of lawmakers from both the House of Representatives and the Senate, rejected a motion on Tuesday that essentially recognized Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.

The motion was put forward by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) during a meeting about the ceremony. The resolution failed to pass in a 3-to-3 vote, with all three Republicans on the committee voting against it.

"I move that the committee 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," the measure read.

Hoyer criticized his colleagues after the meeting, writing in a statement that "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."

He added, "Their continued deference to President Trump's post-election temper tantrums threatens our democracy and undermines faith in our system of elections."

The other lawmakers who serve on the committee alongside Hoyer are House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Chairman Blunt said in a statement that "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."

He added that the group "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."

president-elect biden speaks Queens Theater December 2020
President-elect Joe Biden speaks on December 4 in Wilmington, Delaware. On Tuesday, Republicans on the inaugural committee rejected a motion recognizing him as president-elect. Alex Wong/Getty

Many Republicans in Washington have yet to officially recognize Biden as the president-elect as President Donald Trump continues to attack the integrity of the 2020 election. Trump and his allies have alleged, without evidence, that the election was stolen from him due to widespread voter fraud and irregularities. The Trump campaign has filed dozens of lawsuits in key battleground states disputing results and voting procedures, but nearly all of them have failed.

Biden was initially projected the winner of the 2020 election by multiple news organizations on November 7. The Democrat amassed 306 electoral votes to Trump's 232 in the Electoral College that determines the winner of a presidential election.

Tuesday marks the "safe harbor" date for states to certify their election results, a deadline that essentially means Congress has to accept the electoral votes. The next step is for the Electoral College to meet on December 14 to formally cast the votes.

Correction: A previous version of this story identified Amy Klobuchar as a senator from Missouri. She is a senator for Minnesota.