A high-level Inauguration planning meeting on Capitol Hill ended in acrimony Tuesday after House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer offered up a motion that the small committee – known as the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) — affirm that it is preparing for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Although all three Democrats on the committee voted in favor of the motion, their Republican counterparts voted against it, resulting in a deadlock.
“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,” Hoyer said in a statement after the meeting. “Their continued deference to President Trump’s post-election temper tantrums threatens our democracy and undermines faith in our system of elections.”
Senator Amy Klobuchar, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Hoyer voted in favor of the motion. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt voted no.
In a statement, Blunt said that the committee was not responsible for determining who will be inaugurated.
“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. The JCCIC is facing the challenge of planning 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,” Blunt said.
A Republican aide working with the JCCIC told CBS News that traditionally, most of the planning done by the committee is done before the election without knowing who will be ultimately inaugurated.
“The inaugural ceremonies are planned by the JCCIC—they are a congressional event. Ultimately, decisions are made by the six JCCIC members,” the aide said. “Most of the planning that occurs for inaugurals is done before the election takes place. For example, during the organizational meeting on June 30, 2020, the JCCIC voted to conduct the swearing in ceremonies on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.”
While this is technically true, the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) formed by Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is generally deeply involved in these JCCIC decisions. Despite the vote on June 30 to conduct the swearing in ceremonies on the West Front, Mr. Biden has made it clear that he does not want to do anything that might cause people to gather in an unsafe manner.
In a statement, Biden’s PIC communications director, Pili Tobar, said that the PIC would work closely with the JCCIC in the coming weeks.
“President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will be sworn-in as the next President and Vice President of the United States on January 20, 2021. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and plan a safe inauguration that engages Americans across the country,” Tobar said.
Mr. Trump has refused to concede, and most Republican members are remaining silent in the face of his attempts to overturn the results of the election. Although Mr. Trump’s campaign has launched lawsuits in several states challenging the results, the vast majority of them have been unsuccessful. The president has also tried to personally intervene in the election certification processes in Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania, which all voted for Biden.
Grace Segers contributed to this report.