Insights & Analysis

U.S. Update: Congress & Presidential Elections

Karen A. Tramontano
#BlueStarBrief#January 2024#Update

It has been an exciting 2024 in the United States and we are only two weeks into the new year. Lately, we have been asked questions about the U.S. Congress and the upcoming Presidential race. We thought it may be helpful to respond to some of the questions that we have been asked by our colleagues in Europe and Latin America as well as in the United States.

What is happening in the U.S. Congress?

This is a very good question. The honest answer is not much. The new Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson, has a very slim majority in the House, and he has many conservative members, known as the Freedom Caucus, who are not happy with his leadership and have stopped legislation from coming to the floor of the House for a vote.

The U.S. Government may shut down on Friday, January 19 unless a “Continuing Resolution” (CR) is passed by the Senate and the House and signed by President Biden. There are many Republicans who have stated they will not vote for a CR. This means that Speaker Johnson can only pass a CR if Democrats vote in favor of passing a CR.

Why are some states prohibiting former President Trump from the election ballot?

Soon after the end of the U.S. Civil War in 1865, the 14th Amendment was adopted which included, among other changes to the United States Constitution, a provision that prohibits individuals from holding any federal office if they had taken an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and engaged in insurrection, rebellion, or given aid or comfort to enemies of the United States. Two states, Maine and Colorado, have barred former President Trump from the appearing on the election ballot in their states.

Maine and Colorado have determined that former President Trump, primarily because his involvement in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, and the delay in tallying of electors, cannot be on their state’s presidential ballot. Former President Trump has challenged the two states, elevating the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear the appeal.

If the Supreme Court rules that states are allowed to bar the former President from being on the Presidential ballot, other states may take similar action to bar the former President. Being barred from the ballot could cost former President Trump the election, since every state’s outcome will be determinative in the upcoming 2024 election.

If former President Trump is found guilty of crimes by a federal or state court, will he be barred from running for President of the U.S.?

No. There are only three (3) requirements to be a candidate for President of the United States.

The candidate must be 35 years of age, he/she must reside in the U.S. and must be a citizen of the United States of America. There are no other requirements to be a candidate for President or if elected, from serving as President.

If former President Trump is found guilty and sentenced to serve in prison, could he serve as President of the U.S.?

Yes. If former President Trump receives 270 electoral college votes in the upcoming November 2024 election, even if he were serving prison time, he could serve as President.

Is the House of Representatives and Senate also on the November 2024 election ballot?

Yes. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and one third of Senate seats will be on the November 2024 election. In the Senate, of the 33 seats up for election in 2024, 20 are Democrats, three are Independents who caucus with Democrats, and 10 are Republicans.

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