Schumer Slams Suggested Bipartisan Reform to Electoral Count Act, Calling It 'the McConnell Plan'

In his January 6 address before the Senate, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer condemned former President Donald Trump's "Big Lie" of a stolen election, stating that Congress must act to prevent the Big Lie's influence from spreading across states through the enactment of voter restriction laws.

Schumer said these laws are only being considered because their authors cited concerns tied to the Big Lie, adding that unless these measures are stopped the political violence seen on January 6 could become the norm.

To prevent this, Schumer said the Senate must pass legislation to "defend our democracy" and "protect the right to vote." Doing this, he said, requires passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act—not by doing the "bare minimum" of reforming the Electoral Count Act.

"Let me take this opportunity to make clear that that plan, the McConnell Plan, that's what it is, is unacceptably insufficient and even offensive," Schumer said. "Scorekeeping matters little if the game is rigged."

McConnell and Schumer (For Video)
In this photo, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer go toe to toe Over Voting Rights Bill prior to a vote. The issue has served a contentious issue between the two parties. C-Span

The Electoral Count Act of 1887 stipulates to Congress what it should do if there is a dispute over which presidential candidate won a state, ultimately declaring that if there is a dispute between both chambers of Congress and the president of the congress [the Vice President] in determining the votes, the state's governor will serve as the final decision maker.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Wednesday that "It obviously has some flaws. And it is worth, I think, discussing." The conservative thinktank the CATO institute has backed reforming the law, and moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virgina and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona Senate joined McConnell and Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota in backing an effort to reform the law.

While the move would seem to support electoral reform, some Democrats, including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Schumer, view passing the measure as a distraction from their larger goals, with Schumer going as far to say that the reform would simply mean "you can rig the elections anyway you want and then we'll count it accurately."

"What good is it to accurately count a result that's compromised from the start," Schumer said. "Senator McConnell's plan to reform the Electoral Count Act would do nothing more than codify the vice president's ceremonial role in counting the electoral college votes, effectively guaranteeing that partisan state legislatures could overturn elections without fear of recourse."