Republicans formally retake control of the lower chamber of Congress on Tuesday, as their new majority in the U.S. House of Representatives won in the November 2022 midterm elections is sworn in.
All eyes are on the speakership election, where House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy–the GOP conference’s nominee for Speaker–seeks to make it official and lock in the votes necessary to win the gavel. However, McCarthy has been fighting off a band of rebels working to prevent him from ascending to the position and it could derail the new Congress on its first day since nothing else can happen until a speaker is elected. To win, a speaker must earn the majority of votes of those who are present and voting for a person–nominated or not. Any absences or “present” votes lower the threshold by a half vote below what full House attendance–435 members–would require to achieve such a majority, which is 218 votes. Since one Democrat died in late November, the late Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA), the number is already down to at most 434 members for full attendance–and could drop lower if more Democrats do not show up or vote present. If all the other Democrats show up, it would still require 218 votes to elect a speaker–and Democrats have said they will be at full attendance.