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McConnell urges GOP senators not to object to Electoral College vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden says Beau's assessment of first 100 days would be 'Be who you are' McConnell says he's 'great admirer' of Liz Cheney but mum on her removal McConnell: 'Good chance' of deal with Biden on infrastructure MORE (R-Ky.) is urging Republicans not to object during Congress’s count and certification of the Electoral College vote next month.

McConnell’s comments were made during a caucus call on Tuesday, according to two sources familiar with the call, and come as House Republicans are eyeing a challenge to the results on Jan. 6 during a joint session of Congress.

A Republican senator who participated in the call said that McConnell, Senate Republican Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTop Democrat: FCC actions are a 'potential setback' to autonomous vehicles Biden-McConnell cold war unlikely to end at White House Top female GOP senator compares Cheney ousting to 'cancel culture' MORE (R-S.D.) and Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntDemocratic Kansas City, Mo., mayor eyes Senate run Democrats, GOP agree on one thing: They're skeptical of a deal Senate panel deadlocks in vote on sweeping elections bill MORE (R-Mo.) all urged colleagues not to object to states’ electoral votes when they are received on the House floor next month.

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McConnell warned that any GOP senator who signed onto a House Republican objection to a state’s electoral votes would then force the Senate to debate and vote on the objection, putting fellow GOP senators in a bad position.

The GOP leader said an objection “isn’t in the best interest of everybody.”

No Senate Republicans indicated during the call that they are currently planning to object.

“Not that I heard,” said Sen. Mike RoundsMike RoundsDemocrats, GOP agree on one thing: They're skeptical of a deal Senate GOP keeps symbolic earmark ban Senate confirms SEC chief Gensler to full five-year term MORE (R-S.D.), asked if anyone indicated that they would object during the call.

Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting Democrats, GOP agree on one thing: They're skeptical of a deal Biden to meet with GOP senators amid infrastructure push MORE (Wyo.), the No. 3 GOP senator, added that he hasn’t “heard of any” GOP senator willing to object next month.

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"I think that there was encouragement on the phone for us to accept the result, as much as it's not what we, you know, would have envisioned for the next four years, and to try to do what's best for American people, which is to look forward," said Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoEPA water nominee commits to 'enduring solutions' in confirmation hearing Biden meets for first time with 'Big Four' congressional leaders The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting MORE (R-W.Va.) said about the call. 

Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksRepublicans embrace Trump in effort to reclaim Senate Democrats warn Waters censure move opens floodgates Conservative House members call on Senate to oppose ATF nominee MORE (R-Ala.) has said he will object as part of next month’s Electoral College count, and is likely to gain support from other Trump allies in the House.

But to successfully force a debate and vote on his objection he’ll need support from at least one GOP senator. That’s only happened twice since 1887, according to the Congressional Research Service.

No Republican senator has joined Brooks, though a few conservatives, including Sens. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyMore than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan Republicans' 'marriage bonus' is social engineering at its worst MORE (Mo.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonRand Paul clashes with Fauci over coronavirus origins Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as White House continues to push vaccination effort Overnight Health Care: WHO-backed Covax gets a boost from Moderna MORE (Wis.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulBuckingham Palace requests 'Trump Train' remove image of queen from bus The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting Overnight Health Care: Biden announces 1M have enrolled in special ObamaCare sign-up period | Rand Paul clashes with Fauci over coronavirus origins | Biden vows to get 'more aggressive' on lifestyle benefits of vaccines MORE (Ky.), haven’t ruled it out.

A growing number of Senate Republicans are acknowledging President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says Beau's assessment of first 100 days would be 'Be who you are' Biden: McCarthy's support of Cheney ouster is 'above my pay grade' Conservative group sues over prioritization of women, minorities for restaurant aid MORE as the winner of the November election, including McConnell, who congratulated him from the Senate floor on Tuesday, one day after the Electoral College voters gathered to make their votes. Biden and McConnell had their first known conversation since the election on Tuesday.

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Top Senate Republicans have also publicly pushed back against talk of trying to object to the election results next month. McConnell didn’t address the issue during a press conference on Tuesday.

Blunt, the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said Thune had explained to GOP senators "the futility" of objecting to any state's electoral votes next month.

Thune on Monday said the effort was “not going anywhere.”

If both a House member and senator object, the two chambers would have to meet separately, debate the issue and then have a majority in both chambers vote to uphold the objection to a state’s slate. A lawmaker has never been able to successfully throw out a state's results.

The uphill effort, members of GOP leadership warn, will only result in delaying the inevitable outcome. 

“It creates a debate that has a certain outcome and that will certainly fail,” Blunt said. “I certainly don’t see any merit in that.”

Blunt, who also addressed GOP colleagues during the call, said the tallying of electoral votes during a joint session "should be very non-controversial.”

He noted that Biden dismissed objections to electoral votes when the joint session tallied the results of the 2016 election and that not a single senator signed onto an objection four years ago.

"If you view the Electoral College vote as determinative, the receiving of those votes in the joint session should be very non-controversial," he said. “I think objecting serves no purpose.”