Where things stand for Electoral Count Act reform, Maine tribal sovereignty bill

I cover Congress for The Portland Press Herald and have updates on where matters stand with two bills, one with national implications and spearheaded by Maine’s U.S. Senators, the other of tremendous importance to the not-always-very-happy relationship between Maine and the four federally-recognized tribes embedded in its territory. Will either of them pass before the current Congress stands down at the end of the year?

The first is the attempt to reform the Electoral Count Act, the least common denominator set of reforms to protect the Republic by closing the door on exploiting the anachronistic language of the 1887 Electoral Count Act to try to overthrow U.S. democracy, as Donald Trump tried to do before and during the 1/6 attacks on the Capitol. That effort, spearheaded early on by Sen. Angus King (I-ME) and more recently (and perhaps successfully) by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). As you can read in this Press Herald article, things are looking extremely good for this bipartisan bill passing before the end of the year.

The second is an initiative to make Maine’s tribes included in all future Indian laws passed by Congress. Sounds obvious, but it overturns controversial limits on the Maine tribe’s sovereignty imposed by the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980. Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME02) introduced the measure, which passed the House this summer, but it lacks a champion in the Senate. But when I talked to Sens. Collins and King last week it was clear the bill is almost certainly doomed to die in the upper chamber: King opposes it and Collins wants careful deliberation of the sort that is effectively impossible before the end of the year. My dispatch is here.