Republicans regain control of the US House of Representatives

Republicans will regain control of the House of Representatives by a narrow margin, ushering in a new era of divided government in Washington after Democrats retained a majority in the Senate in a surprise U.S. midterm election.

More than a week after tens of millions of voters went to the polls in the halfwayThe Associated Press said Wednesday night that Republicans would win a majority in the House, the lower house of Congress, after claiming the required 218 seats.

The size of the majority was still unclear as seven House races remained too close to be called. But it was on track to be significantly smaller than expected — an outcome that weakens Republican hands while exposing sharp divisions within party ranks and casting doubt on Kevin McCarthy becoming Speaker of the House.

Earlier this week McCarthy won a secret ballot to become his party’s nominee for president, by a margin of 188 to 31. But defections from right-wing members of Congress loyal to former President Donald Trump have indicated that McCarthy will face a tough road in January, when he needs the backing of at least 218 lawmakers for the top job.

President Joe Biden released a statement congratulating McCarthy on the House Republicans’ victory, adding that he was “ready to work with House Republicans to get results for working families.”

Meanwhile, Trump on Tuesday night officially declared he would run for president for the third time, even as Republican lawmakers privately and publicly urged him to step down after several of his hand-picked candidates failed to win their midterm races last week.

The former president also faced an exodus of top donorsincluding Blackstone Chief Executive Stephen Schwarzman, who released a statement on Wednesday saying, “It’s time for the Republican Party to embrace a new generation of leaders and I intend to support one of them. them in the presidential primaries.

Midterm elections have historically served as a referendum on which party is in power, and many Democrats had braced for bloody losses as Election Day approached, particularly in the House.

But Biden’s party has done better than expected in House and Senate races across the country, retaining several crucial seats. Democrats stemmed losses in places such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia, though they notably lost ground in New York and Florida, where Republicans flipped seven House seats combined.

It became clear over the weekend that Democrats would also retain control of the Senate, the upper house of Congress, after Biden’s party scored narrow victories in races in Nevada and Arizona. The size of their slim majority in the upper house will be decided next month in a Georgia runoff between incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.

In a contest that further exposed the rifts and recriminations among Republican lawmakers, Senate Republicans held their own Capitol Hill leadership election Wednesday morning, in which Mitch McConnell, the house’s longtime Republican leader high, was challenged by Rick Scott, who led the GOP campaign effort heading into the midterms. McConnell was easily re-elected, getting 37 votes, compared to 10 for Scott, who was backed by Trump and some right-wing senators.

While the Democrats will retain the Senate, and the Republican majority in the House will be thinner than expected, the changing of the guard in the lower house will nonetheless cripple the next two years of Biden’s presidency. GOP leaders have suggested they will use the debt ceiling as leverage to push through their own policy priorities, namely cutting federal spending.

Republicans also signaled they would disband investigations led by Democrats, including the special committee investigating Trump’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, and launch their own investigations into everything from origins of the Covid-19 pandemic to the company. negotiations of Hunter Biden, the son of the president.

In his statement Wednesday, Biden issued a bipartisan note, saying he was ready to work with Republicans over the next two years of his presidency: “The American people want us to do things for them.”

The Associated Press also declared Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass the winner of the hotly contested Race for mayor of Los Angeles. His opponent was billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso, a former Republican who switched parties to become a Democrat. He spent an estimated $100 million on his campaign, in a contest that exposed long-running tensions over crime and homelessness in the Southern California city.

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