New Delhi: Republicans reclaimed control of the US House on Wednesday, giving conservatives leverage to quash President Joe Biden’s agenda and spark a flurry of investigations. A shaky majority, on the other hand, will present immediate challenges for GOP leaders and complicate the party’s ability to govern. Republicans secured the 218th seat required to flip the House from Democratic control more than a week after Election Day. Because votes in competitive races are still being counted, the full scope of the party’s majority may not be apparent for several days or weeks. However, they are on track to scrape together what could be the party’s narrowest majority of the twenty-first century, rivalling 2001’s 221-212 with two independents.
This is far from the landslide victory Republicans predicted heading into this year’s midterm elections when the party hoped to reshape Capitol Hill by capitalising on economic challenges and Biden’s waning popularity. Instead, Democrats demonstrated surprising tenacity, retaining moderate suburban districts from Virginia to Minnesota and Kansas. The outcome may complicate House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy’s plans to become speaker, as some conservative members have expressed reservations about supporting him or have imposed conditions on their support.
The razor-thin margins have upended Republican politics and prompted blame games about what went wrong. Some Republicans blame Donald Trump for the unexpected outcome. During this year’s primaries, the former president supported candidates who had struggled to win in the general election. Despite its underwhelming performance, the Republican Party will retain significant power. Republicans will gain control of key committees, allowing them to shape legislation and launch investigations into Biden, his family, and his administration. There is particular interest in investigating the president’s son Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings.
Republicans win a majority in the US House of Representatives, setting the stage for two years of divided government as President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party held control of the Senate, Reuters reported pic.twitter.com/3J6gJTRm3s
— ANI (@ANI) November 16, 2022
Some of the most conservative lawmakers have raised the prospect 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 steep odds in the Senate, where Democrats won the barest of majorities Saturday. Both parties are looking to a December 6 Senate runoff in Georgia as the last chance to pad their ranks.
With such a slim majority in the House, there is also a potential for legislative chaos. The dynamic gives an individual member enormous sway over shaping what happens in the chamber. That could lead to particularly tricky circumstances for GOP leaders as they try to win support for must-pass measures that keep the government funded or raise the debt ceiling.
The GOP’s failure to notch more wins — they needed a net gain of five seats to take the majority — was especially surprising because the party went into the election benefitting from congressional maps that were redrawn by Republican legislatures. History was also on the Republicans’ side: The party that holds the White House had lost congressional seats during virtually every new president’s first midterm of the modern era.
(With agenices inputs)
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