Republicans win: Republicans will take a majority in the House of Representatives. Although it’s still unclear exactly what the final balance of power will be, current return data indicates they will win at least the 218 seats necessary to control the chamber. Control of the House is crucial for 3 main reasons:
The House majority will determine the future of President Joe Biden’s agenda. Democrats had a razor thin 220-212 advantage for the first half of Biden’s first term in office and struggled at times to get key bills over the finish line, including the Inflation Reduction Act. Any further loss means the president will have to curb or abandon some of his more ambitious plans, especially when it comes to climate change and social spending.
Democrats want to continue to look into former President Donald Trump’s time in office and his business dealings. Republicans meanwhile say they want to investigate the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the origins of the coronavirus, and the Biden family’s business deals.
But only one party can have its way. A majority in the chamber also means that party gets a majority in the committees. That brings the power to call hearings, direct where committee resources are used, and perhaps most importantly, the power to subpoena.
3. The Speaker
The speaker of the House is second in line to the presidency, behind only the vice president. But on Capitol Hill, they are in charge. The speaker can determine who sits on which committees and which bills are brought up for a vote on the House floor. A member needs a majority vote from the whole House to become speaker. Although the vote typically follows party lines, it is not solely a majority party decision.
It’s unclear who would rise to the top for Democrats. Current Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has been the leader of the House Democratic Caucus since 2002. Reports indicate Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., the current Democratic Caucus chair, is in the lead to become the next Democratic leader on Capitol Hill.
Republicans appear poised to select the current Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Calif. He has made it clear he wants the job after losing a previous bid to become speaker in 2015.