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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called White House chief of staff Mark Meadows Tuesday morning to say he planned on congratulating Joe Biden on winning the Electoral College and would officially address him as president-elect on the Senate floor, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: The Senate leader had resisted public demands to acknowledge Biden's victory despite the president's losing court battles, holding off until electors had formally given Biden the 270 votes he needed to secure his win on Monday. The delay underscored that McConnell still needs President Trump to back must-pass legislation before leaving office, one of the sources said.

  • The Kentucky Republican — whose wife, Elaine Chao, serves in the president's Cabinet — did not speak directly with Trump.

Beyond Trump's help in the Senate, McConnell also needs the support of Trump voters in the pivotal Georgia Senate runoff elections next month. Republicans must win both races or face a 50-50 split Senate with the Democrats, and Vice President Kamala Harris, casting tie-breaking votes in her party's favor.

  • McConnell also made clear during a phone call Tuesday afternoon he doesn’t want Senate Republicans doing anything to jeopardize incumbents up for reelection in the critical 2022 midterms.

Yes, but: McConnell's courtesy call to the White House didn’t stop Trump from tweeting an article quoting Rep. Mo Brooks. The Alabama Republican asserted: "‘Trump Won the Electoral College' - I Can Be a Part of the ‘Surrender Caucus‘ or I Can Fight for Our Country,” just moments after McConnell spoke.

  • A spokesperson for McConnell declined to comment. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

Top economic regulators stressed by vacancies

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The boom times are all around us (from corporate deal sprees to the breakneck rise of cryptocurrency) — and the agencies in charge are stretched thin trying to police it.

Why it matters: Overwhelmed staff and a slew of vacant posts could set back President Biden's big regulatory agenda.

GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley announces run for re-election

Photo: Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the longest-serving Senate Republican, announced on Friday that he's running for re-election in 2022.

Why it matters: The GOP is looking to regain control of both chambers of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections. Several Republicans had urged the 88-year-old senator to run to avoid another retirement after five incumbent senators said they wouldn't seek re-election.