The Republicans have won back control of the House of Representatives, with media outlets projecting they have secured the 218 seats needed for a majority.
Their majority however will be razor thin, as the much-heralded red wave expected during the US midterm elections turned into a red trickle. With sky-rocketing inflation and low popularity ratings for President Joe Biden, the GOP were predicted to take the House and the Senate.
However the Democrats have held the upper house, after flipping the key state of Pennsylvania, and the Republicans will have a majority of between one and five in the 435-seat House of Representatives. Many election denialist candidates backed by Donald Trump failed, however the firebrand former President announced he going to run in 2024, despite still being under a raft of criminal and federal investigations.
Who controls the House of Representatives?
The Republicans won the seat they needed for their majority on Wednesday when California's 27th district went to incumbent Mike Garcia. Kevin McCarthy will now likely replace Nancy Pelosi as the House majority leader. The GOP now have 218 seats called, which gives them a slim majority in the 435-seat house.
"Americans are ready for a new direction, and House Republicans are ready to deliver," McCarthy tweeted on Wednesday night. Votes are still being counted in many tight races, and the size of the GOP’s majority may not become clear for days or weeks.
While this will have an impact on Biden’s next two years - with House Republicans expected to try and launch investigations into the President’s son Hunter - the slim majority means only a few rebels will be needed to block legislation.
Biden congratulated McCarthy on the GOP victory and said he was “ready to work with House Republicans to deliver results for working families”.
He said: “Last week’s elections demonstrated the strength and resilience of American democracy. There was a strong rejection of election deniers, political violence, and intimidation.”
Who controls the Senate?
Prior to the mid-term elections on Tuesday, many had predicted a so-called red wave which could give Republicans control of the Senate and the House. However that result has failed to materialised.
Democratic senator Cortez Masto was re-elected in Nevada on Saturday (12 November). The result meant that the Democrats will retain a majority in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer claimed victory on Saturday night, tweeting: “Your Senate Democratic Majority!” With the results in Nevada now decided, Georgia is the only state where both parties are still competing for a Senate seat.
Democratic incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock faces GOP challenger Herschel Walker in a 6 December runoff. Alaska’s Senate race has advanced to ranked choice voting, though the seat will stay in Republican hands.
What does the results mean for President Biden?
Democratic control of the Senate ensures a smoother process for President Joe Biden’s Cabinet appointments and judicial picks, including those for potential Supreme Court openings. The party will also keep control over Senate committees and have the power to conduct investigations or oversight of the Biden administration, and will be able to reject legislation sent over by the House, with the GOP in control.
However the split chambers is likely to mean legislative gridlock. House rules give the party in charge control over which legislation gets votes and which languishes in limbo. Republicans will now also run all the House committees, with their sweeping oversight and subpoena powers. While the Republicans do only have a slim majority, they will be able to stop a lot of Biden’s legilsative agenda in its tracks.