Republicans Edge Closer to Winning Control of House of Representatives
Republicans appeared Monday to be edging closer to winning control of the House of Representatives in the next session of Congress that takes office in January.
Republicans already have won 212 seats to the Democrats’ 204 in both parties’ quest for a 218-seat majority in the 435-member chamber. But election analysts say vote counts in the remaining 19 unsettled contests mostly appeared to be headed in the Republicans’ favor, which eventually could allow them to wrest control of the chamber from the current Democratic majority.
Democratic President Joe Biden acknowledged as much, telling reporters at a G-20 news conference in Indonesia, “I think we’re going to get very close in the House. I think it’s going to be very close, but I don’t think we’re going to make it.”
With tedious vote counting of mail-in ballots, it could take days yet for Republicans to officially reach the 218-seat majority. But a Republican majority in the House is likely to give Biden opponents an entrée to launch investigations of his administration’s missteps during his first two years in the White House, such as last year’s chaotic U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and the ongoing influx of thousands of migrants across the U.S. border with Mexico.
A House Republican majority, albeit one that is much narrower than party officials had predicted before last week’s voting, would also let it join negotiations with Senate Democrats and the White House over crucial government spending allocations, climate change policies, continued aid to Ukraine in its war with Russia and other significant issues.
Democrats retained their narrow control of the Senate this past weekend, as they captured their 50th seat in the 100-member chamber, allowing Vice President Kamala Harris, as the chamber’s presiding officer, to cast the occasional tie-breaking vote for the Democratic agenda against unified Republican opposition on controversial legislation.
Democrats currently hold a 50-49 edge in the next Senate session, with Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock facing a December 6 runoff election in Georgia against his Republican opponent, former college and professional football star Herschel Walker, to decide the remaining contest.
Most U.S. political analysts are predicting that when the remaining votes are counted in the uncalled House races, Republicans could win a very narrow majority, perhaps with 219 to 222 seats to 216 to 213 for the Democrats, well below Republican leaders’ preelection predictions of as much as a 30-seat majority.
“We beat the odds,” Biden told reporters in Cambodia, where he attended a summit of Asian nations before heading to Bali, Indonesia, for a summit of the world’s 20 largest economies. “I feel good, and I’m looking forward to the next couple years.”
Before last Tuesday’s election, U.S. political pollsters and analysts had widely predicted a sweeping “red wave” of Republican wins in the House and a possible takeover of the Senate, as well.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York, assured of remaining the chamber’s majority leader, called the results a “vindication” for Democrats and their agenda.
He said Republicans had turned off voters with extremism and “negativity,” including some candidates’ erroneous insistence that the 2020 election had been stolen from then-President Donald Trump. “America showed that we believed in our democracy,” Schumer told reporters.
Some Republicans are targeting Trump for his support of candidates, many of whom lost, that was based largely on whether they agreed with his claim that he was cheated out of another four-year term in the 2020 election.
Some Republicans have noted that Trump, as the biggest name in Republican politics, has now presided over large losses in 2018 congressional contests midway through his presidential term, his own loss seeking reelection in 2020 and now a less-than-successful 2022 showing.
Nonetheless, even with last week’s vote counts continuing, Trump has signaled he plans to announce his 2024 presidential candidacy on Tuesday.
Trump is facing federal and state criminal investigations over his role in trying to upend his 2020 loss, whether he fomented the January 6, 2021, riot of his supporters at the U.S. Capitol and whether he illegally took highly classified national security documents with him to his oceanside mansion in Florida when he left office 22 months ago.
No criminal charges have been brought against the 45th U.S. president.