Republicans take control of the House, NBC News projects, overtaking Democrats by a narrow margin

WASHINGTON — Republicans have taken control of the House, NBC News screened Wednesday, giving President Joe Biden a divided Congress after Democrats keep control of the Senate in last week’s midterm elections.

Republicans finally cemented their takeover a week after polls closed on Election Day, fueled by the surprising strength of Democrats across the country. Republicans had hoped to come to power with dozens of victories, but instead will have only a narrow majority, which will complicate their ability to function in the House chamber.

Instead, the results revealed an America still torn apart by former President Donald Trump, his repeated false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, and how the country and the GOP should move forward. In several close races, voters cited the economy and inflation as their top concerns, but that wasn’t enough to propel Republicans to a decisive sweep after Trump effectively made the election a referendum on himself. and his past and future plans as de facto leader. Of the party.

The results came down to a handful of close races. It was a district in Los Angeles County, California that ultimately brought Republicans to the brink.

Even with a narrow majority, Republicans in Congress will still have a powerful check on Biden, who can now expect a louder microphone for his critics and a rush of congressional investigations into his administration and his family, which could lead to to a push from the most conservative. in the House to impeach him.

But he can count on allies in the Democratic Senate to confirm his judicial and administrative appointments, even if his legislative program is effectively dead in the water thanks to the House GOP.

The prospect of a narrow majority has triggered more challenges for the existing leadership team of House Republicans. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the current Republican leader, faced an uprising of opposition within his ranks during his rise to the post of president. On Tuesday, he secured the nomination of his caucus chair, but still needs to win additional support ahead of the January vote.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sought to calm discontent among his members on Wednesday. He was reelected to remain the top Republican in the chamber, a position he has held since 2007.

Biden will be forced to negotiate with whoever emerges victorious in the Republican leadership fight, engaging battles over Ukraine aid and keeping the government funded as Republicans try to bring him down ahead of the 2024 presidential election. .

But the modest size of the new Republican majority, well below bullish forecasts, means party leaders will be hemmed in by the need to garner near-unanimous support from their caucus, unable to afford more than a few defections.

It’s a similar dynamic to that which defined most of President Barack Obama’s time in the White House, when Biden was vice president. Like Biden, Obama entered the presidency with Democrats in control of Congress, until Republicans won the House in his first half terms as Democrats held the Senate.

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