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The violent protests and the storming of the Capitol last week did not dissuade our responsibility as members of Congress to carry out our constitutional role in certifying the results of this past presidential election. I commend Vice President Mike Pence for his leadership in carrying out his oath of office and putting his country first. Yesterday, the Vice President stated, ‘I will not now yield efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our Nation.’
Last week’s tragic events also did not sway my resolve to highlight the highly irregular actions taken by state officials in Pennsylvania during the last election. The Constitution very clearly states that ‘The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections … shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof…’ In multiple instances, state officials acted outside their authority, usurping the constitutional authority of the Pennsylvania state legislature.
It must be understood that there was mathematically no chance that my objection to the Pennsylvania electors would overturn the results of the election. I have stated that consistently to anyone who asked for the last several weeks. It is also important to note that my focus was never centered on unproven claims of fraud. This is why I did not object to the certification of Arizona electors.
As an elected official, I have a responsibility to be the people’s voice in Washington. There are many, many across the commonwealth who do indeed feel disenfranchised. The electoral certification process was the appropriate venue to address these concerns. Speaker Pelosi in 2005, when 31 Democrats objected to the electoral certification for Ohio, professed, ‘The Members of Congress who have brought this challenge are speaking up for their aggrieved constituents, many of whom have been disenfranchised in this process.’ These words from Speaker Nancy Pelosi were appropriate then as they are now.
My questioning of the Pennsylvania electors will help illuminate this constitutional question to the United States Supreme Court. It is my understanding the U.S. Supreme Court will consider and rule on whether the actions taken in Pennsylvania, without the authority of the state legislature, were unconstitutional. In the end, I believe we will be vindicated by the Court in affirming that only state legislatures make election law and procedure. The Court’s ruling will be prospective, not retroactive, and will bring consistency and integrity to our system of elections. This will be to the benefit of Democrats and Republicans and build widespread trust in our election process.
As Vice President Pence has said, ‘in the midst of a global pandemic, economic hardship for millions of Americans, and the tragic events of January 6th, now is the time for us to come together, now is the time to heal.’ It is very important now to avoid actions that would further divide our people. An impeachment proceeding would only bolster such division. President-elect Biden recently suggested that our goal should be to move forward as a nation and that the most effective means to accomplish this is to focus on a smooth transition come Jan. 20. I have received an invitation to attend the inauguration of President-elect Biden and I will be attending.
Dan Meuser serves as U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania’s 9th Congressional District.