House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed Thursday that the chamber has the authority to remove a duly-elected Republican lawmaker from Iowa who narrowly defeated her opponent after a series of post-election recounts.
Pelosi’s remarks came during a press conference regarding Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks who defeated Democratic challenger Rita Hart by just six votes. The results of the election have been certified by Iowa state officials; Miller-Meeks was sworn into Congress provisionally in January.
The Speaker said that, at present, the House Administration Committee was merely “following the law” in reviewing the election and its certification.
When asked if there is any “scenario” that would see Miller-Meeks unseated and removed, Pelosi was adamant that there is and that she would pursue it.
“Could you see a scenario? We don’t do press conferences on ‘can you see a scenario.’ Of course! Of course!” Pelosi told reporters. “I respect the work of the committee. … We’ll see where that takes us. There could be a scenario to that extent.”
.@SpeakerPelosi: “Of course” I could see a scenario where House Democrats vote to overturn the state-certified results in #IA02.@HouseDemocrats are coming right out and saying that they are willing to steal this election from @RepMMM. pic.twitter.com/6VI0ZfkG1R
— Mike Berg (@MikeKBerg) March 11, 2021
On Wednesday, the Administration Committee voted 6-3 to table a motion filed by Miller-Meeks to dismiss Hart’s effort to look into the results of the 2nd Congressional District race in Iowa, The Hill reported. As such, committee members will begin assessing Hart’s claims that she ought to be seated in the House instead of Miller-Meeks.
Hart’s campaign is claiming that 18 of 22 votes that were left out of the final vote count on election night for various reasons linked to voting machines more than make up her deficit to Miller-Meeks.
“At least twenty-two Iowans’ legally-cast ballots still have not been counted due to a string of errors,” Hart said in a statement. “We are glad to see the House Committee on Administration taking the next step towards ensuring that every legally-cast vote is counted in this race and that all Iowans’ voices are heard. Every legal voter in this country has a right to have their ballot counted and the remedy here is clear — count the ballots.”
Republicans have responded to the effort by Democrats to overturn the Iowa election with disbelief, considering the heat poured on the GOP by political rivals and much of the D.C. media after Republicans challenged election results from a number of battleground states in the 2020 presidential election.
“Rita Hart should immediately cease her undemocratic efforts to usurp the will of Iowa voters and election officials. Iowa voters should decide Iowa elections, not [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi and her socialist colleagues,” Mike Berg, a spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in comments published by The Hill.
Hart will be allowed to appear on her own behalf before the committee, which is chaired by long-serving California Democrat Zoe Lofgren, who has pledged that the process will be “transparent, open, and fair.”
Following its proceedings, the committee will provide a full report to the entire House along with its recommendation as to who should ultimately fill the seat.
At present, Democrats only control the chamber by five seats, the smallest majority in modern history, The Hill noted.
But Republicans are already skeptical.
“Our committee should not be moving forward with overturning our colleague’s state-certified election. She is a sitting member of Congress with all of the same rights as each and every one of us,” Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois said ahead of the panel’s vote earlier this week.
“We already know the outcome of this contest. Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks won a free and fair election. It’s in the best interest of taxpayers and the integrity of our election process to dismiss this motion and to dismiss it today,” he added.
Democrats had hoped to expand their majority in 2020 but lost a dozen seats, while all Republicans up for reelection won. Meanwhile, the Democrat majority is set to dwindle further after Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) and Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) are confirmed to Biden administration Cabinet posts.
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