US midterms: Republicans narrowly win back the House

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Photo of Kevin McCarthyGetty Images

Republicans have secured the 218 seats needed to win a majority in the lower chamber of the US Congress, the BBC’s US partner CBS News projects.

The party’s majority in the House of Representatives is razor-thin, but it is enough to stall President Joe Biden’s agenda for the next two years.

It marks a return to divided government, with Democrats still retaining power in the Senate.

Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump has announced he will run again.

Split control of Washington was ushered in by last week’s midterm elections, in which the Republicans – who had hoped to win back control of both chambers – underperformed expectations.

The Republican party is now projected to win between 218-223 seats in the 435-seat House, according to CBS.

The blame for last Tuesday’s showing has largely landed on two party leaders: Mr Trump and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell.

On Tuesday night, the ex-president formally announced a third bid for the White House in 2024 from a ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

He said voters had “not yet realised the full extent and gravity of the pain our nation is going through”, but would change their minds over the next two years as he predicted things would get worse.

In Washington on Wednesday, Mr McConnell was re-elected as Senate minority leader, fending off a challenge from fellow Republican Rick Scott of Florida.

This was the first challenge to his lengthy leadership tenure in 15 years, amid bitter infighting over who is to blame for the failure to win back a majority in the Congress’ upper chamber.

The two men butted heads frequently in the lead-up to the midterms and Mr Scott had said he is “not satisfied with the status quo”.

A day earlier, California congressman Kevin McCarthy was elected as the Republicans’ nominee to replace Democrat Nancy Pelosi as the next Speaker of the House.

But in order to be elected Speaker, the House Republican minority leader must now work to receive majority support from the 435 members of the full House.

The new Congress will be convened on 3 January 2023.

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