Democratic members of Congress celebrate after the completion of the Electoral College vote certification for President-elect Joe Biden, during a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
Vice President Mike Pence, R-Ind., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., preside over the Electoral College votes for certification after working through the night at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Congress early Thursday affirmed President-elect Joe Biden's electoral victory over President Donald Trump who said he will permit an orderly power transition after several Republican attempts against the certification effort failed and a siege on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters brought the proceedings to a halt.
In a statement published moments after the lengthy certification proceedings ended, Trump said even though he disagrees with the outcome of the election "nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on Jan. 20th."
Vice President Mike Pence early Thursday affirmed the election results that said Biden had won 306 electoral votes to Trump's 232, certifying the former vice president and senator for Delaware will be the 46th president of the United States.
The affirmation followed hours of proceedings that began a day earlier and were interrupted Wednesday afternoon by an assault on the U.S. Capitol building by Trump supporters who attempted to stop the counting of the electoral votes, resulting in the shooting death of a woman and dozens of arrests.
Inside the chambers, Republicans repeatedly challenged the certification of the states' electoral votes, with the last objection being against certifying those from Pennsylvania -- an effort that both houses of Congress struck down following a lengthy debate.
The Senate voted 92-7 and the House voted 282-138 to reject the move challenging the commonwealth's voters.
Sens. Ted Cruz from Texas, Josh Hawley from Missouri, Cynthia Lummis from Wyoming, Roger Marshall from Kansas, Rick Scott from Florida, Tommy Tuberville from Alabama and Cindy Hyde-Smith from Mississippi voted to go against certifying the votes of Pennsylvania.
The vote was called after Pence accepted the objection from Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., who said he had it in writing and signed by Hawley and 80 House representatives.
"Sadly but resolutely I object to the electoral votes of my beloved commonwealth of Pennsylvania on the grounds of multiple constitutional infractions that they were not under all of the known circumstances regularly given," Perry said in announcing his objection.
An objection must be signed by at least one senator and one House representative to initiative a 2-hour debate that is followed by a vote.
Late Wednesday, the House voted 303-122 and the Senate voted 93-6 to block another Republican objection raised against Arizona's electoral votes, which came after GOP House members attempted to object to the certification of votes in Georgia, but no senator would sign on to the effort.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia had said days earlier she would object to the certification of the state's electoral votes but rescinded her objection after Trump's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building Wednesday afternoon, bringing the proceedings to a halt for several hours.
"When I arrived in Washington this morning, I fully intended to object to the certification of electoral votes. However, the events that transpired have forced me to reconsider and I cannot now in good conscience object to the certification of these electors," she said from the floor. "The violence, the lawlessness and siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent and stand as a direct attack on what my objection was intended to protect: the sanctity of the American democratic process."
At least three other Republican lawmakers rescinded their intentions to object to states' electoral votes following the storming of the U.S. Capitol building.
Authorities secured the building before 8 p.m. when the proceedings restarted, but only after a woman who had breached the Capitol was shot dead by police.
As of Wednesday night, at last 52 people had been arrested, the majority for breaking a 6 p.m. curfew that was put in place for Washington, D.C., following the siege.
In a statement, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington called the attack on the building "disgraceful and un-American."
"Thugs assaulted Capitol police officers, breached and defaced our Capitol building, put people's lives in danger and disregarded the values we hold dear as Americans. To anyone involved, shame on you," she said.
Rodgers said her objection was to give voice to concern that electoral procedures were changed without public input, but she has decided to uphold electoral college votes "and I encourage Donald Trump to condemn and put an end to this madness."
Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Steven Daines, R-Mont., issued a joint statement, stating "we must rise above the violence."
"We now need the entire Congress to come together and vote to certify the election results," the pair said. "We must stand together as Americans."