It was reported by the Associated Press that the Republicans gained a majority in the House of Representatives. Giving the Republicans a boost in their power to set the agenda on Capitol Hill after two years in which the Democratic Party had complete control of both chambers of Congress and the White House.
On Wednesday, more than a week after Election Day, the Associated Press reported that Rep. Mike Garcia won re-election in California’s 27th District, giving Republicans 218 members and Democrats 210 seats in the 435-seat body. Since Monday, Republicans have remained at 217, with numerous elections, primarily in California, remaining uncalled.
The change in House leadership will make it practically difficult for President Biden to pass an ambitious agenda through Congress and may further complicate discussions on the debt ceiling and government financing. Also, Republicans are anticipated to utilize their control of House committees to investigate his administration and family.
Mr. Biden sent a statement thanking House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California for his party’s victory. Mr. Biden met with Mr. McCarthy after the election last week and declared his willingness to collaborate with Republicans to “achieve outcomes for working people.” Mr. McCarthy is positioned to succeed Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi of California as Speaker of the House.
Mr. McCarthy tweeted that Americans are ready for a new path, and House Republicans are ready to deliver.
Since Monday, when multiple victories brought them within one seat of the majority, the Republicans were on the edge of triumph. The four contests called by the AP on Tuesday were all won by Democrats: Yadira Caraveo in Colorado and Representatives Josh Harder, Ami Bera, and Jim Costa in California. The AP reported Wednesday that Democratic Representative Jared Golden of Maine was re-elected, significantly reducing the GOP advantage.
As of Wednesday evening, seven elections remained uncalled, making it impossible to determine the number of seats held by the Republican Party. The Democrats hold a 220-213 majority with two vacancies in the current Congress.
The Democrats regained control of the Senate with a victory in a close Nevada election days earlier. A runoff election in Georgia scheduled for December 6 is the penultimate test of whether Republicans can unseat any Democratic Senate incumbents, but it will not alter the chamber’s leadership. This year, Democrats have successfully defended all of the Senate seats they were defending and have won a Republican-held seat in Pennsylvania.
Initially, Republicans anticipated a far higher advantage in the House and intended to also capture the Senate. The party’s performance in the midterm elections has prompted it to ponder what went wrong.
Some Republicans have attributed the party’s weaker-than-expected performance to the impact of former president Donald Trump, namely his persistent conviction that the 2020 election was stolen. Many of Mr. Trump’s backed candidates for Senate and governor in tough races lost. Mr. Trump said on Tuesday that he will run for president again in 2024.
Several Republicans who backed him in 2020 have expressed reluctance to do so again.
The pointing of fingers has also spread to Republican leadership contests. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) was re-elected minority leader on Wednesday, defeating Sen. Rick Scott (R., Fla.), who led the party’s campaign arm in this year’s race, to retain his position.
Mr. McConnell stated on Wednesday, in judging the outcome of the midterm elections, that Republicans had alienated moderate voters. Mr. McConell stated that they have a problem with individuals in the center who still decide the outcome, even if there are fewer of them than there used to be. Mr. Scott has stated that the GOP campaigned insufficiently on its policy platform.
This year, Republican candidates at the national level benefited from a favorable voter composition. There were approximately 49% of Republican midterm voters and 43% of Democratic midterm voters, a 6-point lead for the GOP, according to AP VoteCast, a comprehensive study of midterm voters. This number comprises voters who indicated a preference for one party or the other. In states with competitive Senate elections, the Republican advantage was the same or bigger as in states without competitive Senate contests.
However, according to the most recent updated survey data, the Republican edge was diminished by four points among independents. AP VoteCast discovered that independent voters favored Democratic Senate candidates by 20 points in Pennsylvania, 28 points in Georgia, and over 30 points in Arizona.
On Tuesday, Mr. McCarthy received a boost in the House in his bid to become Speaker when his party assumes control of the chamber. However, the internal GOP vote for the next leader, in which 31 legislators voted for Arizona Representative Andy Biggs, demonstrated that Mr. McCarthy had work to do before the whole House votes for Speaker in January.
If all members are present, the Speaker of the House needs 218 votes to be elected. Since it is anticipated that Democrats would oppose Mr. McCarthy, he will have limited space for defections with a slim majority.
They do not distribute gavels in small, medium, or large sizes. Mr. McCarthy remarked on Tuesday night; you get the proper-sized gavel to use it. Despite acknowledging that the number of the new class was lower than Republicans had planned, he emphasized the importance of a majority. He stated that now Washington has a system of checks and balances.
Mr. McCarthy, 57, would follow Mrs. Pelosi, who has been the head of the Democrats for over two decades, if elected Speaker. Since January 2019, the Democrats have held the House of Representatives.
According to sources with knowledge of the discussion, Mrs. Pelosi, 82, informed Democratic members of the California congressional delegation on Wednesday that she may decide on her next moves this week.
The next action of the Speaker will indicate who will lead the Democratic caucus in the future. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) is largely seen as the leading candidate to succeed Mrs. Pelosi. No other Democrats have expressed interest in the role. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) has withdrawn from the race, according to sources familiar with his decision.
Shortly before the election, Mrs. Pelosi’s husband was assaulted in their San Francisco home; she has stated that this incident will impact her choice over whether to remain as caucus leader.
Given the reluctance of some Republicans to maintain the current level of money for Kyiv, the Republican control of the House may alter a variety of Biden administration initiatives, including U.S. assistance for Ukraine in its battle with Russia. It may also ignite new party fights over spending, taxation, Internal Revenue Service enforcement, and the possibility of lifting the federal debt ceiling since Republicans could advocate for their policy demands.
With the majority, House Republicans will now have the ability to begin investigations, which they are anticipated to do against several Biden administration officials, including the president’s son, Hunter Biden. Numerous Republicans had questioned whether the junior Biden’s business connections, which included serving on the board of Ukrainian energy giant Burisma, influenced U.S. policy when his father was vice president or president. Each Biden has denied any wrongdoing.
Mr. McCarthy stated on Tuesday that his anticipated Republican majority would concentrate on measures to increase American energy output and safeguard the southern border. If Republicans remain united, this legislation can pass the House without Democratic backing, but they are unlikely to survive in a Democratic-controlled Senate. Additionally, Mr. Biden might veto legislation he opposes.