Republicans win majority in US House of Representatives, setting stage for divided government

WASHINGTON, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Republicans were projected to win a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, setting the stage for two years of divided government as President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party controlled the Senate.

The victory gives Republicans the power to curb Biden’s agenda, as well as launch potentially politically damaging investigations into his administration and his family, though it is a far cry from the “red wave” the party was hoping for.

The final call came after more than a week of vote counting, when Edison Research projected that Republicans had won the 218 seats they needed to control the House. The Republican victory in California’s 27th congressional district pushed the party over the edge.

The current leader of the party’s Chamber, kevin mccarthyhe may have a challenging road ahead, as he will need his restive group to stick together on critical votes, including government and military funding at a time when the former president donald trump has launched another run for the White House.

The loss takes some power away from Biden in Washington, but on Wednesday he congratulated McCarthy and said he would work across the aisle to get results.

“The American people want us to do things for them,” Biden said in a statement.

Democrats have been buoyed by voter rejection of a number of far-right Republican candidates, most of them Trump allies, including Mehmet Oz and Doug Mastriano in the Pennsylvania Senate and gubernatorial races, respectively. and Blake Masters in the race for the Arizona Senate.

Even though the expected “red wave” from House Republicans never made it to shore, conservatives are sticking to their agenda.

In retaliation for two Democrats’ impeachment efforts against Trump, they are preparing to investigate Biden administration officials and the president’s son Hunter’s past business dealings with China and other countries, and even with himself. Biden.

About him international frontRepublicans could try to reduce US military and economic aid to Ukraine while it fights Russian forces.

THE PULL OF INFLATION AND ABORTION

The United States is once again sharing power ahead of 2021 in Washington, with voters drawn in opposite directions on two main issues during the midterm election campaigns.

High inflation gave Republicans ammunition to attack liberals, who have raked in trillions of dollars in new spending during the COVID-19 pandemic. With voters seeing their monthly grocery, gas and rent bills rise, so has the desire to punish Democrats in the White House and Congress.

At the same time, there was a pull to the left after the June Supreme Court ruling ending abortion rights angered a wide swath of voters, bolstering Democratic candidates.

Edison Research, in exit polls, found that nearly a third of voters said inflation outweighed their concerns. For a quarter of voters, abortion was the top concern, and 61% opposed the high court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.

In the Los Angeles mayoral race, Edison projected that Democrat Karen Bass, a leading progressive in Congress, had defeated Rick Caruso, a billionaire former Republican who ran on a platform of reducing crime and crime. of housing in the city. She stood at 53% of the vote so far.

EYES ON THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE

While the midterms focused on races for the US Congress, state governors and other local offices, looming above all was the 2024 US presidential race.

Trump, who remains in the polls as the No. 1 choice among Republicans for the party’s presidential nomination, suffered a series of setbacks as far-right candidates he recruited or allied with fared poorly on Nov. 8. . Some conservative Republican voters expressed fatigue with Trump. .

At the same time, Ron DeSantis won a second term as governor of Florida, defeating Democratic opponent Charlie Crist by nearly 20 percentage points. Trump was reportedly furious at the high marks political pundits were giving DeSantis, seen as a possible challenger to Trump in the field of 2024 Republican presidential candidates.

The 2024 election will immediately influence many of the legislative decisions House Republicans are pursuing as they flex their muscles with a newfound majority, however narrow.

They have talked publicly about seeking cost savings in the Social Security and Medicare safety net programs and making permanent tax cuts enacted in 2017 that are about to expire.

The Conservatives are threatening to hold off on a necessary debt limit hike next year unless significant spending cuts are achieved.

“It’s critical that we’re prepared to use the leverage we have,” said the chair of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, Scott Perry. saying Reuters last month.

First, the House must choose a speaker for the next two years. McCarthy won the support of a majority of his caucus Tuesday to run for the powerful seat that will succeed Nancy Pelosi.

With such a narrow majority, McCarthy was working to win commitments from nearly every rogue Republican member, and failed in that effort during a 2015 bid. Freedom Caucus members, some four dozen in all, could hold the keys to him winning. the presidency and the viability of his presidency in general.

Reporting by Richard Cowan and Costas Pitas; Written by Richard Cowan; Edited by Rosalba O’Brien

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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