(WASHINGTON) — Republicans are projected to retake control of the House in the midterm elections, breaking Democrats’ unified control of the federal government, ABC News reports.
Despite other midterm disappointments, that marks a major victory for the party that’s been the chamber’s minority since 2019 — and will be a blow to President Joe Biden’s agenda in Congress.
Democrats already won control of the Senate, securing 50 seats with the opportunity to gain one more in the Georgia runoff next month between incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican opponent, Herschel Walker.
But Republicans, who will take over in the House in January, will now be able to block White House legislative priorities, decide what bills come to the chamber floor and have the opportunity to launch committee investigations into the Biden administration.
Several House Republicans have already said they intend to investigate Hunter Biden, the president’s son, and look into the administration’s policies on COVID-19 and the southern border.
The GOP House leader, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, was nominated by his colleagues this week to be the next speaker, the chamber’s top position and second in line to the presidency.
“I’m proud to announce the era of one-party, Democrat rule in Washington is over,” McCarthy said after the intraparty leadership vote on Tuesday.
In a tweet on Wednesday night, he wrote, “Americans are ready for a new direction, and House Republicans are ready to deliver.”
Biden also released a statement on Wednesday that alluded to some Republican losses in the midterms but said: “I congratulate Leader McCarthy on Republicans winning the House majority, and am ready to work with House Republicans to deliver results for working families.”
McCarthy unveiled his party’s vision for Republican rule ahead of the midterms. Their “Commitment to America” plan focused on four key areas: creating an “economy that’s strong,” “a nation that’s safe,” “a future that’s built on freedom” and “a government that’s accountable.”
The pitch to voters largely avoided specific policy, instead focusing on criticisms of and contrast with Biden’s leadership — specifically on high inflation and anxiety surrounding crime.
McCarthy also vowed to bring down federal government spending and said Republicans are prepared to seek more congressional oversight for the billions in financial assistance to Ukraine as the nation defends itself from Russia’s invasion.
Republicans had been favored for months to win back control of the chamber, according to FiveThirtyEight’s forecast. Midterms have historically been a referendum on the president’s party.
Just twice in the past 19 midterm cycles — stretching back nearly 40 years — has the president’s party actually gained seats in the House.
But the anticipated “red wave” didn’t fully materialize, as Democrats kept the Senate and limited their losses in the House. Exit polling showed that voters, including independents, favored Democrats on key issues like abortion access despite the public’s disapproval of economic conditions.
“We know our job will not be easy,” McCarthy said on Tuesday. “We know the task. We’ve got a close majority. We’ll have to work together. We want to work with anyone who wants to make America stronger.”
Biden, meanwhile, has celebrated staving off historical headwinds after casting the elections as a choice between Democratic priorities and those of far-right “MAGA Republicans” rather than an appraisal of his first two years as commander-in-chief.
“I’m incredibly pleased by the turnout,” Biden told reporters when Democrats were projected to win the Senate. “And I think it’s a reflection of the quality of our candidates.”
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