– “Fired Pelosi”: Republicans gain majority in Congress
After defeat in the Senate, conservatives triumph in the House of Representatives. Whether she can replace Nancy Pelosi as Democratic Speaker of the House is an open question.
US President Joe Biden will face opposition from Congress in the second half of his term. Republicans won a narrow majority in the House of Representatives, as American television stations and the AP news agency reported Thursday evening, based on vote counts and forecasts (click here for our roundup of US election news). This allows them to block legislative initiatives from the White House and investigate Biden and his policies.
At the same time, in last week’s preliminary elections, Americans in many cases preferred the Democrats, especially over the radical Republicans supported by ex-president Donald Trump. Contrary to expectations, Democrats retained control of the Senate and even have a chance to expand their majority there. And in the House of Representatives, instead of the landslide victory they were hoping for, Republicans will be just short of the 218-vote majority needed.
The Democrats now have 210 seats. There are only seven places left. The narrow margin makes it harder for outgoing Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to secure an election victory. He needs the votes of both moderate Republicans and right-wing Trump loyalists for initiatives. It remains unclear how Trump’s announcement that he is seeking a second term will affect the momentum among Republicans.
In a congratulatory letter to McCarthy, Biden said he was willing to work with House Republicans “to get results for working families.” The election showed that people rejected political violence and Trump’s claims of a stolen electoral victory.
Pelosi could make way for younger ones
McCarthy was confirmed as the House Republican leader this week. He received only 188 votes, while 31 Republicans voted for right-wing challenger Andy Biggs. McCarthy needs a majority in the entire House of Representatives to replace Democrat Nancy Pelosi in January.
The Republican dispute could have unusual consequences. Republican Rep. Don Bacon said he would then be willing to work with Democrats to elect a moderate Republican to head the chamber. This post is number three in the political hierarchy in the US, after the presidential and vice presidential offices.
McCarthy emphasized that the victory in Congress ended the era when only one party ruled in Washington. “We fired Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi emphasized that Democrats will continue to have a lot of influence alongside the “slim majority” of Republicans. Whether the 82-year-old wants to continue leading Democrats in the minority is an open question. Her husband, Paul Pelosi, was seriously injured a few weeks ago in an attack on the couple’s home in San Francisco and she said it would affect decisions about her political future.
Pundits in Washington — including members of her own party — expect the California Democrat could step down and usher in a new generation of leaders.
With a majority in the U.S. Senate, Democrats can block Republican initiatives from the U.S. House of Representatives. But Republicans have also threatened to launch various parliamentary investigations against Democrats: for example, the situation on the border with Mexico, the FBI’s search for former Republican President Donald Trump, or the actions of Biden’s son Hunter. They could also possibly start impeachment proceedings against cabinet members. By doing so, they can make life difficult for Biden and his administration in the next two years.
And the House of Representatives has special weight in budget matters. Republicans have threatened to block an increase in the debt ceiling or financial aid to Ukraine. Observers see it only as a means of wringing concessions from Democrats elsewhere. However, it will likely be more difficult for Biden to push through projects that are usually decided across parties.
In the midterm elections of a US president, his party usually gets a reminder. The president himself is not in the election, but the vote is considered a kind of referendum on his policies. In terms of domestic politics, Biden has recently added to inflation in the country, among other things – dissatisfaction was caused mainly by rising fuel prices. And even before that, Biden had to contend with dramatically poor poll numbers.
Before the election, a wave of success was predicted for the Republicans and a debacle for the Democrats. But neither happened. Control of the Senate is important to Democrats because it is where federal appointees — such as ambassadors, cabinet members and federal judges — are confirmed.
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