GOP wins slim House majority, complicating ambitious agenda
California Republican Kevin McCarthy has been nominated for Speaker after the GOP secured a House majority. Image via AP.

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But it will be the slimmest majority of the 21st Century.

Republicans won control of the U.S. House on Wednesday, returning the party to power in Washington and giving conservatives leverage to blunt President Joe Biden’s agenda and spur a flurry of investigations. But a threadbare majority will pose immediate challenges for GOP leaders and complicate the party’s ability to govern.

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

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

Instead, Democrats showed surprising resilience, holding on to moderate, suburban districts from Virginia to Minnesota and Kansas. The results could complicate House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy’s plans to become Speaker as some conservative members, including Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican, have questioned whether to back him or have imposed conditions for their support.

McCarthy, a California Republican, celebrated his party having “officially flipped” the House on Twitter on Wednesday night, writing, “Americans are ready for a new direction, and House Republicans are ready to deliver.”

Current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, released a statement Wednesday night saying, “In the next Congress, House Democrats will continue to play a leading role in supporting President Biden’s agenda — with strong leverage over a scant Republican majority.”

Biden congratulated McCarthy, saying he is “ready to work with House Republicans to deliver results for working families.”

“Last week’s elections demonstrated the strength and resilience of American democracy. There was a strong rejection of election deniers, political violence, and intimidation,” Biden said in a statement. “There was an emphatic statement that, in America, the will of the people prevails.”

He added, that “the future is too promising to be trapped in political warfare.”

The narrow margins have upended Republican politics and prompted finger-pointing about what went wrong. Some in the GOP have blamed Donald Trump for the worse-than-expected outcome. The former President, who announced his third White House bid Tuesday, lifted candidates during this year’s Republican primaries who often questioned the results of the 2020 election or downplayed the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol last year. Many of those struggled to win during the general election.

Despite the GOP’s underwhelming showing, the party will still have notable power. Republicans will take control of key committees, giving them the ability to shape legislation and launch probes of Biden, his family and his administration. There’s particular interest in investigating the overseas business dealings of the President’s son Hunter Biden. 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 Dec. 6 Senate runoff in Georgia as a last chance to pad their ranks.

With such a potentially slim House majority, there’s also potential for legislative chaos. The dynamic essentially 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 benefiting from congressional maps that were redrawn by Republican legislatures. History was also on 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.

The new majority will usher in a new group of leaders in Washington. If elected to succeed Pelosi in the top post, McCarthy would lead what will likely be a rowdy conference of House Republicans, most of whom are aligned with Trump’s bare-knuckle brand of politics. Many Republicans in the incoming Congress rejected the results of the 2020 presidential election, even though claims of widespread fraud were refuted by courts, elections officials and Trump’s own Attorney General.

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

“I’m proud to announce the era of one-party Democrat rule in Washington is over,” McCarthy said after winning the nomination.

Republican candidates pledged on the campaign trail to cut taxes and tighten border security. GOP lawmakers also could withhold aid to Ukraine as it fights a war with Russia or use the threat of defaulting on the nation’s debt as leverage to extract cuts from social spending and entitlements — though all such pursuits will be tougher given how small the GOP majority may 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 viewed as the threats posed by the current Republican Party.

Biden said the midterms show voters want Democrats and Republicans to find ways to cooperate and govern in a bipartisan manner, but also noted that Republicans didn’t achieve the electoral surge they’d been betting on and vowed, “I’m not going to change anything in any fundamental way.”

AP VoteCast, a broad survey of the national electorate, showed that high inflation and concerns about the fragility of democracy had heavily influenced voters. Half of voters said inflation factored significantly, with groceries, gasoline, housing, food and other costs that have shot up in the past year. Slightly fewer — 44% — said the future of democracy was their primary consideration.

Counter to the GOP’s expectations, Biden didn’t entirely shoulder the blame for inflation, with close to half of voters saying the higher-than-usual prices were more because of factors outside his control. And despite the President bearing criticism from a pessimistic electorate, some of those voters backed Democratic candidates.

Democrats also likely benefited from anger over the Supreme Court overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision cementing a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion. Voters in Michigan voted to amend their state constitution to protect abortion rights while far more reliably Republican Kentucky rejected a constitutional amendment declaring no right to an abortion.

Overall, 7 in 10 voters said the high court’s ruling overturning the 1973 decision enshrining abortion rights was an important factor in their midterm decisions. VoteCast also showed the reversal was broadly unpopular. About 6 in 10 say they are angry or dissatisfied by it. And roughly 6 in 10 say they favor a law guaranteeing access to legal abortion nationwide.

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Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


11 comments

  • Impeach Biden

    November 17, 2022 at 6:57 am

    Good riddance to the wicked witch of the west. Enough of that senile old hag,

    • Tjb

      November 17, 2022 at 3:49 pm

      A very mature response regarding Nancy? Let see what the House does with inflation, gas prices and inflation. Are they thinking that going after Hunter’s laptop will improve the economy?

  • Tom

    November 17, 2022 at 8:51 am

    The Gavel is a full one, not miniature or half depending on the count, one way or other!

    The House Repub. under Speaker designee McCarthy had gained seats, at least 20 net in 4 yrs, gaining majority. Well deserved.

    AP’s attempt to diminish the fundamental power switch won’t wash. Speakers authority, committee chairs, subpoenas, hearings and most importantly the appropriations, budget process will set up the next two years.

    The repealing of the 87,000 IRS agents and its insistence in the budget will be key.

    There will be hard issues addressed as well as investigations and possible impeachment’s.

    Buckle up!

    • Tjb

      November 17, 2022 at 3:50 pm

      Looks like Tom is cheating on his taxes again.

  • Tom

    November 17, 2022 at 8:51 am

    The Gavel is a full one, not miniature or half depending on the count, one way or other!

    The House Repub. under Speaker designee McCarthy had gained seats, at least 20 net in 4 yrs, gaining majority. Well deserved.

    AP’s attempt to diminish the fundamental power switch won’t wash. Speakers authority, committee chairs, subpoenas, hearings and most importantly the appropriations, budget process will set up the next two years.

    The repealing of the 87,000 IRS agents and its insistence in the budget will be key.

    There will be hard issues addressed as well as investigations and possible impeachment’s.

    Buckle up!

    • Ocean Joe

      November 17, 2022 at 10:20 am

      Tom, congrats. Not the 35 seats you predicted, but a win.
      There’s a reason the GOP never holds a majority for very long.
      When the public sees what you really have to offer, as opposed to your slogans, it all goes south for you.
      Hunter Biden will be entertaining for awhile.
      An investigation of Afghanistan will show your hero Trump set it all in motion by committing to deadlines, reducing forces and allowing the release of 1000’s, including Al Quedas from the Taliban prisons. Dont look too close. Then again, we are finally out of our longest war.
      IRS agents? I’m guessing you pay your taxes like everybody should. And the House can’t push another tax cut for the wealthy through with a single digit majority.
      Healthcare? You going to try to strip 25,000,000 of their insurance again, or strip everybody of certain protections imposed? You like lifetime caps on insurance co. payouts?
      You like insurance cos. denying coverage?
      You hate a cap on life saving insulin?
      You want to back off helping the Ukraine because of Donnie?
      You want to kick the can down the road again on the environment? You want to block the infrastructure bill?
      Stacking the deck for the wealthy is no way to hold or grow a majority.

      • Tom

        November 18, 2022 at 2:40 pm

        Ocean, it’s about a 4 million spread on votes cast in favor of the GOP.

        Your exaggeration of all topics listed is classic Ocean. I will address them as I always do when questioned by the loyal opposition. That’s why I am the FP legend.

        Feel free to admit how wrong you and the 5% haters were on America’s Gov. I told you 2 plus years ago he could get 60%. You are welcome! FYI. Get off the 5% haters extremism. 60% landslide is overwhelming. It’s a Florida sunshine coalition, across all groups, ethnicities. As Gov said, one for ages, rewritten pol map. Dems are lost for a generation. Your George Wallace analogy was rejected as was Nikki Frauds Hitler outrageous analogy,

        As for the new House majority it Should be about 222 GOP. The GOP turnout was just Under 4 million. The only thing I can say is that some Repub. didn’t vote GOP. The districts are gerrymandered very hard as you know, both sides. About 30 plus seats. The GOP was playing in hard plus 5 to 15 Dem districts. Open seats help, knocking off incumbents very hard. They netted 14 last cycle, this cycle looks like 10. You take what you get, enough to topple Pelosi.

        As for the your issues, it’s beyond Hunter. It’s Biden inc.

        More important issued will be addressed, Schumer will reject most. The budget reconciliation process will dictate any budgetary funding.

        Your list of items is comedy, really? The border invasion? Afghan, absolute addiction. Expand Medical coverage is fine, don’t tread on mine. The new prescription coverage takes away from other medical research on heart and Alzheimer’s. So Ukraine is a blank check? Is there any limit? They want $37 billion now, on top of billions previous.

        Your list of exaggerations are juvenile.

        The Dems destroyed this country.
        We all were better off 2 and 4 years ago, Good going, hope your happy.

  • Otis Campbell

    November 17, 2022 at 10:44 am

    Wow this is great. Now Nancy will have more time to devote to the satisfaction of Pauli P’s high lusty desires which will go a long way to curbing his homer desires for men who insert hammer handles in dark, secret, stinky places. See theres always a bright sunny side of the street to hop, skip, and jump over to.

  • marylou

    November 17, 2022 at 1:09 pm

    Voters in all 6 states with abortion rights amendments on the ballot voted to protect women’s bodily autonomy and reject government interference in women’s bodies and lives.

    The majority of Florida voters want to protect women’s freedom from government control of their lives too. It is time for a statewide vote on abortion rights. The government needs to allow Florida voters to speak rather than using government power to silence us.

  • Tom

    November 17, 2022 at 4:41 pm

    Mary hootch and Tjb.
    60%, is overwhelming.
    Dems voted for him.
    The 5% haters on FP, such as yourselves are fringe haters!
    60%! Landslide!

  • Tom

    November 17, 2022 at 4:41 pm

    Mary hootch and Tjb.
    60%, is overwhelming.
    Dems voted for him.
    The 5% haters on FP, such as yourselves are fringe haters!
    60%! Landslide!

Comments are closed.


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