The Republican Party has secured its first major feat in the 2022 midterm elections, regaining the majority of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, which has been controlled by Democrats for the past four years.
Republicans were long favored to take control of Congress’ lower chamber in 2023 as President Joe Biden‘s wavering popularity hurt Democratic prospects down the ballot.
Though Democrats saw a boost in the polls after Roe v. Wade was overturned that made them more competitive across the board, issues like inflation and crime began controlling the narrative in many key districts as the election neared, restoring Republicans’ upper-hand.
Historically, the sitting president’s party — in this case, the Democratic Party — suffers greatly during midterms. While Democrats did lose a number of House seats, they exceeded expectations and suffered minimal damage, making it the best a leading party has performed in midterms in 20 years, and the best under a first-term president in 40 years.
Republicans’ thin majority in the House will require them to act with a certain level of bipartisanship — and with Democrats maintaining a majority in the Senate, Republicans will have an extra hurdle to jump through if they hope to pass any controversial bills into law.
When the incoming Congress convenes in January, House representatives will cast their votes for a new speaker to lead the congressional chamber. According to tradition, both major party caucuses meet beforehand to select their respective nominees — often the top-ranking party official at the time — and representatives are generally expected to support the nominee that their party has selected.
On Tuesday, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was selected as the GOP’s pick to replace Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House speaker in January. Rep. Steve Scalise was chosen to be the second highest-ranking Republican official, the House majority leader.
McCarthy has already begun preparing for a transition of power in the House, and said his first agenda item will be securing the United States’ southern border.
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