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US: Republicans have the House, here’s what’s next for them

The opposition Republican Party gained control of the 435-member US House of Representatives on Wednesday, but with a narrow majority.

The Republicans now have 218 seats as against 211 of the Democratic Party. The counting of six seats is still going, the outcome of which would determine the final size of the House. The elections were held on November 8. 

The Republican Party gained control of the House of Representatives after a gap of four years when in 2018 it lost the majority to the Democrats. The GOP had last won a majority in the House in 2010 and remained in control for eight years till 2018. In 2020, the party picked a net of 12 seats and defeated 13 incumbents.

Here’s a look at what’s next for the Republicans.

For firsts, Nancy Pelosi will step down as Speaker. Republican Kevin McCarthy will take her place in January when the new Congress takes oath. 

The GOP will probably open probes into everything from the origins of Covid-19, Homeland Security being overseen by Alejandro Mayorkas, the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, business dealings involving President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and the bureaucratic decision-making behind Covid-related school closures and vaccine mandates.

The incoming Republican leaders will want to shrug off criticism coming their way. They might start by trying to push a counter-narrative around the January 6, 2021 riots at Capitol Hill, and move blame away from former president Donald Trump. 

A probe into Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, might be in the offing. A federal judge, on November 14, ruled that an FBI agent can be deposed for reportedly colluding with Meta to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story before the 2020 election. Hunter Biden’s laptop allegedly contains proof of links to funds from Ukraine and China. 

Republicans might also look into Covid-time mandates such as the use of face masks, steps taken to curb the virus, vaccine mandates and more. 

Republican allies of Trump have decried the FBI’s investigation of the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate, where several classified documents from the White House from his time as president were found. Members of the GOP have demanded transparency from the Department of Justice and FBI over the process. Trump’s lawyers on November 14 said that the documents the FBI seized are ‘personal’ because he said so. The Department of Justice said that Trump cannot deem the documents personal ‘simply by saying so’.

Besides this, with the House under their control, Republicans can push some bills that forward their agenda. 

–With PTI inputs

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