Republicans on a congressional inauguration committee blocked a resolution Tuesday that would have formally recognized presumed President-elect Joseph R. Biden as the winner of the 2020 election as the panel plans for the upcoming inauguration.
The Republican members of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and panel Chairman Sen. Roy Blunt — blocked the resolution put forth by House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer that would have which would have formally informed the public that Congress was preparing for Mr. Biden’s inauguration.
Mr. Blunt, Missouri Republican, defended the panel’s decision, arguing the legal process was still playing out.
“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 said in a statement. “The JCCIC is facing the challenge of planning a 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.”
Mr. Hoyer, however, accused them of working against the country’s democratic system.
“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,” the Maryland Democrat said. “Their continued deference to President Trump’s post-election temper tantrums threatens our democracy and undermines faith in our system of elections.”
“Republicans are refusing even to allow JCCIC to say that President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, even when there is no serious dispute over that fact,” he said.
The group of six, which also includes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, was meeting Tuesday to discuss ways to make the inauguration safe given coronavirus concerns.
Tuesday marked the “safe harbor” deadline for states to resolve any outstanding legal issues for the election before the Electoral College convenes on Dec. 14, according to federal law.
However, President Trump and his legal team have vowed to continue with their legal battles through January.
The president has been pursuing legal challenges in several states that Mr. Biden narrowly won — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Nearly all those legal fights haven’t panned out for Mr. Trump and all those states have certified their results.
⦁ Alex Swoyer contributed to this report.