US: Republicans win slim House majority complicating Biden's agenda

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks with journalists after winning the House Speaker nomination at a House Republican leadership meeting. Credit: AP

Republicans have won control of the US House, returning the party to power in Washington and giving conservatives the chance to blunt President Joe Biden’s agenda and launch a number of investigations.

The small majority will however pose challenges for republican leaders and complicate the party's ability to govern.

Over a week after Election Day, Republicans secured the 218th seat needed to flip the House from Democratic control.

The extent of the party's majority is yet to be revealed with some races still being counted.

But, the party is on track for it's slimmest majority of the 21st century and their performance at the polls is a far cry from the sweeping victory that had been predicted.

Having hoped to capitalise on economic challenges and Biden's lagging popularity, the Democrats instead showed resilience and held a number of regions they were predicted to lose.

Congressman Kevin McCarthy celebrated his party having “officially flipped” the House on Twitter writing: “Americans are ready for a new direction, and House Republicans are ready to deliver.”

President Biden congratulated Mr McCarthy, saying he is “ready to work with House Republicans to deliver results for working families.”

“Last week’s elections demonstrated the strength and resilience of American democracy. There was a strong rejection of election deniers, political violence, and intimidation,” Biden said in a statement. “There was an emphatic statement that, in America, the will of the people prevails.”

He added that “the future is too promising to be trapped in political warfare."

Donald Trump has announced his third bid for the White House. Credit: AP

Some in the Republican party have blamed Donald Trump for the worse-than-expected outcome. The former president, who has announced his third White House bid, backed candidates who had questioned the results of the 2020 election or downplayed the mob attack on the US Capitol.

Many of those fronted by Trump struggled at the polls.

Even with their less-than-expected performance in the midterms, the Republicans will still take control of key committees, giving them the chance to shape legislation - and perhaps more importantly for Biden, giving them a platform to launch probes into his family and administration.

Interest has been levelled at the president's son, Hunter Biden, over overseas business dealings - with some conservative lawmakers aiming to impeach Biden.

Any legislation that emerges from the House could face steep odds in the Senate, where Democrats won the barest of majorities.

Both parties are looking to a December 6 Senate runoff in Georgia as a last chance to pad their ranks.

Biden said the midterms show voters want Democrats and Republicans to find ways to cooperate and govern in a bipartisan manner, but also noted that Republicans didn’t achieve the electoral surge they’d been betting on and vowed: “I’m not going to change anything in any fundamental way.”

Group protesting Roe V Wade being overturned in Georgia back in June. Credit: AP

Democrats also likely benefited from anger over the Supreme Court overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision cementing a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.

Voters in Michigan voted to amend their state constitution to protect abortion rights while Republican Kentucky rejected a constitutional amendment declaring no right to an abortion.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.