With certain House races still being counted, it appears that the Republicans will assume the majority in the House. The Democrats will maintain their control of the Senate, with a possible net gain of one seat, depending on the result of the Georgia Senate runoff between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.
Divided government will require developing bipartisan consensus to pass legislation, including funding the government and authorizing defense programs. While we should expect to see gridlock, over the past two years we have seen Congress work together to pass a number of bipartisan bills, including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (infrastructure repair and modernization), the Safer Communities Act (updating gun ownership laws), and the CHIPS and Science Act (investing in semiconductor research and domestic manufacturing).
In the House, we should expect to see Republicans focus on highlighting issues with China and the economy, as well as leveraging their control of committees to launch a number of investigations into the administration. Republicans have indicated that they plan to launch investigations into the business dealings of Hunter Biden, the military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, and the Biden administration’s border policy. It is also likely that they will take a more active oversight role in examining how federal departments and agencies are administering funds granted to them through the American Rescue Plan, IIJA, and the CHIPS and Science Act.
In the Senate, Democrats will likely focus their efforts on approving President Biden’s nominees to executive posts and federal judgeships. They will also need to negotiate with their Republican colleagues on any legislative efforts since the Senate requires 60 votes to pass most legislation.
The 2024 election will also complicate matters in Congress. Legislators will likely begin focusing on campaigning in late 2023, ahead of the early primaries. President Biden has said he will run for reelection, and currently, 30 seats of the Senate will be in play, as well as the entire House. Of those 33 Senate seats, 23 of them are held by Democrats (and 2 independent senators who caucus with the Democrats). Three of those Democrats hold seats in states won by President Trump in 2020.