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Congress is set to confirm Joe Biden’s win over Trump despite GOP pushback. Here’s what to know

  • Congress on Wednesday will count and confirm the votes cast by the Electoral College, a process that is virtually guaranteed to finalize President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
  • But more than a dozen Republican senators and dozens more in the House are expected to lodge an unprecedented number of objections to key electoral votes.
  • President Donald Trump's baseless assertion that the election was stolen from him could cause discomfort for Vice President Mike Pence, who is expected to preside over the joint session of Congress and ultimately declare Biden the winner.

The U.S. Capitol building is seen reflected in a puddle in Washington, U.S. November 10, 2020.Hannah McKay | Reuters

Congress on Wednesday will count and confirm the votes cast by the Electoral College, a process that is virtually guaranteed to finalize President-elect Joe Biden's victory despite some Republicans' last-ditch plans to challenge the election results.

The joint session is set to kick off at 1 p.m. ET in the House chamber, and Vice President Mike Pence is expected to preside.

In past presidential cycles, the event was seen as more of a formality than as another battle in the war for the White House. It comes, after all, more than three weeks after states' electors cast their ballots, and nearly a month after the so-called safe harbor deadline to resolve disputes over the results.

Yet more than a dozen GOP senators and dozens more in the House have vowed to lodge an unprecedented number of objections to electoral votes in key states, despite pleas from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other Republicans to abandon the crusade. Doing so could lengthen the certification process by hours or even days, but experts say the eventual outcome will be unchanged.

"The eventual outcome I think is inevitable," said Keith Whittington, a politics professor at Princeton University, in an interview with CNBC. "It's just a question of how long it takes to get there and how many fireworks are occurring along the way."

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden at a drive-in rally in Atlanta on Jan. 4, 2021.Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

The objectors, some of whom are widely rumored to have presidential ambitions, have reframed Wednesday's joint session as a final opportunity to raise doubts about the election proceedings and push for a 10-day audit of the results in a series of battleground states.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., was the first in the chamber to announce objection plans, and 11 more led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, argued in a later statement that "unprecedented allegations of voter fraud" and "deep distrust" of the results demand investigation.

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