In a statement, Hawley said he feels compelled to highlight purported election irregularities.
“At the very least, Congress should investigate allegations of voter fraud and adopt measures to secure the integrity of our elections. But Congress has so far failed to act,” Hawley said.
Any member of the House, joined by a member of the Senate, can contest the electoral votes on Jan. 6. The challenge prompts a floor debate followed by a vote in each chamber.
Trump will inevitably lose that vote, given that Democrats control the House and a number of Senate Republicans have publicly recognized Biden’s victory, including Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah), who has called Trump’s refusal to accept the election dangerous.
Even in the unlikely event that Trump were to prevail in the Senate, where Vice President Pence would be in position to cast a tie-breaking vote if needed, the challenge still would fail, given the House vote.
A number of Republican members of the House, led by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) and encouraged by the president, nevertheless have said they plan to challenge votes in swing states where they claim without evidence that the vote was marred by fraud.
Before Hawley’s announcement, one incoming Republican senator, newly elected Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, has said he is considering signing on, as well.
Hawley has been mentioned as a potential 2024 presidential candidate, and his move is certain to appeal to Trump supporters and parts of the Republican base.
But other Republicans have argued that it would be politically harmful to force their members to decide whether to back Trump out of loyalty in a vote bound to fail and appear to be bucking the will of the voters. McConnell counseled against the move in a call with fellow Republicans earlier this month.
Votes could be particularly difficult for GOP senators up for a reelection in 2022 who believe the 2020 election was conducted fairly. If they break with Trump, they risk facing a primary challenger who could question their loyalty to the outgoing president.
Trump has played up what is usually a ceremonial milestone as a potential turning point in his quest to reverse the election results.
“See you in Washington, DC, on January 6th. Don’t miss it,” Trump tweeted Sunday.
Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed Sunday against Pence by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) and several Arizona Republicans attempts to get a federal judge to expand Pence’s power to affect the outcome.
Hawley drew criticism following his announcement Wednesday from some who suggested he was more motivated by 2024 presidential politics than concerns about the 2020 election.
In a tweet, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) suggested that a positive tweet from Trump about Hawley’s move would help him with Trump supporters in 2024 even if the move goes nowhere. Hawley could then “blame someone else when it fails,” Kinzinger said.
Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger contributed to this report.