Mike Pence, the former vice president, said Thursday that he believes “the role of the vice president is clear” when presiding over the election count on Jan. 6 as the U.S. Senate considers reforms.
As part of the 15th annual Kaufmann Family Harvest Dinner fundraiser in Wilton, Pence joined 200 Republican supporters. In his speech, he discussed the upcoming midterm elections as well as the resilience of Americans when faced with natural disasters like Hurricane Ian.
While Congress considers reforming the Electoral Count Act, Pence explained to the Press-Citizen that the vice president’s role has always been clear. On Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol to prevent Joe Biden from becoming president, he understood his duty as vice president. According to the Constitution, the vice president is responsible for prepping over a joint session of Congress for counting the electoral votes, “no more and no less.”
“As vice president, I know that I performed my duties on that day, on Jan. 6,” said Pence.
New protection for presidential elections and the transition of power would be included in the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act of 2022, which would reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887. Former Trump attempted to coerce Pence into overturning the presidential election results on Jan. 6, which led to the bill.
As part of the proposed reform, vice presidents will only be ministerial in the joint session following presidential elections. They will not be able to arbitrate disputes over electors alone or accept, reject, or resolve them. The vice president is responsible for acting as the “presiding officer” over the electoral count, opening election certificates and calling for objections, as outlined in the Electoral Count Act.
Pence didn’t say whether he would support the legislation. He said he defers Congress to work the bill through the legislative body.
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The bill already has nine Republicans as either sponsors or cosponsors, so if every Democrat voted in favor, it would only require one more Republican vote to pass. In August, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he supported proposed changes to the Electoral Count Act but would wait to read the proposal before voting.
Pence focuses on electing Republicans and healing wounds from Hurricane Ian
Iowa Republican Party Chair Jeff Kaufmann and Iowa state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann hosted Pence at the fundraiser to raise money for several down-ballot candidates in the crowd, including state senators. The candidates in Johnson County that are running for election this fall include Roby Smith, who is running against State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, and Jammie Bradshaw, running for the Board of Supervisors.
Starting in 2023, Bobby Kaufmann will no longer represent Johnson County because he is challenging Libertarian Clyde Gibson in the race for House District 82.
It wasn’t long before Vice President Pence arrived at the event, and soon a line formed in the middle of the room to greet him. Pence took the stage while the room was infused with the scent of fried chicken.
“Hello, Iowa! It is wonderful to be here 40 days away from a great American comeback, and it all starts here in the Hawkeye State,” Pence said, referring to his hope for Republican victories in the Nov. 8 election.
As part of his speech, Pence discussed Hurricane Ian, saying it was extraordinary to see the storm come ashore and level communities along Florida’s west coast. His memories of trips to Sanibel Island off the coast of Florida were filled with hurricane devastation.
“To see that hurricane come across and sunder that island and come ashore as it did in Fort Myers … just broke our hearts,” Pence said.
As vice president, Pence enjoyed seeing Americans come together to help people in Florida.
“In my years of public service in Congress, as governor of Indiana and as your vice president, my opinion of the American people went up, not down,” Pence said.
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Pence expressed his optimism for Republican chances in the midterm elections, stating that Iowa would lead to a new Republican majority in Congress and the retirement of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Despite challenges he cited, like inflation, immigration, and crime, he said he believes America can be turned around. According to him, Biden’s administration seems to be working against the country.
“I came to Iowa today to say in this year, and the years ahead, we need to have government as good as our people,” Pence said.