Republicans secure narrow majority in US House, blunting Biden but posing challenges – National


Republicans took control of the US House on Wednesday, bringing the ruling party back to Washington and giving conservatives leverage to blunt President Joe Biden’s agenda and trigger a wave of investigations. But a threadbare majority will pose immediate challenges to GOP leaders and complicate the party’s ability to govern.

More than a week after Election Day, Republicans won the 218th seat needed to swing the House from Democratic control. The full scope of the party’s majority may not be clear for several days – or even weeks – as votes in competitive races are still being counted.

But they’re on track to cobble together what could be the party’s narrowest majority in the 21st century, rivaling 2001, when Republicans had just a nine-seat majority, 221-212 with two independents. That’s well short of the landslide victory Republicans had predicted for this year’s midterm elections, when the party hoped to reset the agenda on Capitol Hill by capitalizing on economic challenges and popularity in the trails Biden.

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Republicans set to regain control of US House with narrow majority

Instead, Democrats have shown surprising resilience, retaining moderate suburban districts from Virginia to Minnesota and Kansas. The results could complicate House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s plans to become president, as some conservative members questioned whether to support him or placed conditions on their support.

Narrow margins have upended Republican politics and prompted finger pointing at what was wrong. Some GOP members blamed Donald Trump for the worse-than-expected outcome. The former president, who announced a third White House bid on Tuesday, lifted candidates in this year’s primaries who struggled to win in the general election.

Despite the GOP’s disappointing performance, the party will still have noticeable power. Republicans will take control of key committees, giving them the ability to shape legislation and launch investigations into Biden, his family and his administration. There is particular interest in investigating the overseas business dealings of the president’s son, Hunter Biden. Some of the more conservative lawmakers have mooted the possibility of impeaching Biden, though that will be much harder for the party to accomplish with a tight majority.

Any legislation that emerges from the House could face strong odds in the Senate, where Democrats won the narrowest of majorities on Saturday. Both parties are eyeing a Dec. 6 Senate runoff in Georgia as the last chance to swell their ranks.

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US midterms: Democrats set to win Senate as some GOPs point finger at Trump for losses

With such a slim majority in the House, there is also the potential for legislative chaos. Dynamics essentially gives an individual member huge influence in shaping what happens in the chamber. That could lead to particularly awkward circumstances for GOP leaders as they try to drum up support for must-have measures that maintain government funding or raise the debt ceiling.

The GOP’s failure to pick up more victories — they needed a net gain of five seats to claim a majority — was particularly surprising because the party ran in the election benefiting from Congressional cards that were redrawn by Republican legislatures. History was also on the side of the Republicans: the party that holds the White House had lost seats in Congress during virtually every first midterm of the new modern-era president.

The new majority will inaugurate a new group of leaders in Washington. If elected to succeed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the top job, McCarthy would lead what is likely to be a rowdy conference of House Republicans, many aligned with Trump’s bare-knuckle politics. Several Republicans in the upcoming Congress have rejected the results of the 2020 presidential election, even as allegations of widespread fraud have been refuted by the courts, election officials and Trump’s own attorney general.

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McCarthy won the nomination for Speaker of the House on Tuesday, with a formal vote to come when the new Congress convenes in January.

« I am proud to announce that the era of one-party Democratic rule in Washington is over, » McCarthy said after winning the nomination.

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Republican candidates pledged during the election campaign to cut taxes and strengthen border security. GOP lawmakers could also suspend aid to Ukraine as it wages war with Russia or use the threat of national debt default as leverage to extract spending cuts and social entitlements — though. that all of these prosecutions are more difficult given the small size of the GOP majority. end up being.

As a senator and then vice president, Biden spent a career crafting legislative compromises with Republicans. But as president, he was clear about what he saw as the threats posed by the current Republican Party.

Biden said the midterm elections show voters want Democrats and Republicans to find ways to cooperate and govern bipartisanly, but also noted that Republicans haven’t achieved the electoral push on which they had bet and swore, “I’m not going to fundamentally change anything.

AP VoteCast, a large survey of the national electorate, showed that high inflation and concerns about the fragility of democracy had strongly influenced voters. Half of voters said inflation was factored in significantly, with grocery, gas, housing, food and other costs skyrocketing over the past year. Slightly less – 44% – said the future of democracy was their main concern.

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Contrary to GOP expectations, Biden did not take full responsibility for inflation, with nearly half of voters saying the higher-than-usual prices were more due to factors beyond his control. And although the president was criticized by a pessimistic electorate, some of those voters supported Democratic candidates.

Democrats also likely benefited from anger over the Supreme Court’s overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade entrenching a woman’s constitutional right to abortion. Michigan voters voted to change their state’s constitution to protect abortion rights, while the Kentucky Republican, much more reliably, rejected a constitutional amendment declaring no abortion rights.

Overall, 7 in 10 voters said the High Court’s decision overturning the 1973 ruling enshrining abortion rights was an important factor in their midterm decisions. VoteCast also showed the reversal to be largely unpopular. About 6 out of 10 people say they are angry or dissatisfied. And about 6 in 10 say they support a law guaranteeing access to legal abortion nationwide.

&copy 2022 The Canadian Press


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