A joint session of Congress ended a day of siege on Thursday by officially certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win in the November election, the final step ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration.
The bottom line: Despite some Republican lawmakers' challenges — and the brutal rampage of the Capitol by supporters of President Trump — the final votes in Congress confirm that Biden will be the 46th president of the United States.
The big picture: The vote came hours after the typically procedural process devolved into mass chaos, with armed, pro-Trump rioters storming the Capitol, forcing House and Senate lawmakers into multi-hour lockdowns.
- The day's violent events impeded several Republicans' plans to challenge the Electoral College votes in battleground states.
- Multiple House and Senate Republicans had planned to object to the Electoral College votes in at least three states: Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania — with an additional three on the table.
- But the objectors only made it to Arizona and Pennsylvania, with several Republican lawmakers deciding to give up their challenges after the protests erupted inside the Capitol.
Between the lines: Although we knew from the start that the certification debate wouldn't change the election results, the day's events revealed how much work needs to be done to heal the country.
- The Republicans who sought to object to the election results succeeded in shaking many Americans' confidence in their democracy, especially among those who believe Biden's presidency is illegitimate.
- It also drew battle lines for the 2024 GOP presidential primary, and put a target on the head of many pro-Trump dissenters who refused to take part in undermining Biden's victory.
Vice President Mike Pence, who presided over the proceedings and ultimately announced that Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received the required majority votes, is a top target.
- His declaration —in which he fulfilled his constitutional duty — went directly against Trump's pressure campaign to overturn the election results.
What's next: The House and Senate will recess at the end of this week through the inauguration.