President Joe Biden congratulates his Republican opponents for winning control of the US House of Representatives and says he was willing to work with them and serve the American people.

Republicans secured the 218th seat needed to flip the House from Democratic control.
Republicans secured the 218th seat needed to flip the House from Democratic control. (AP Archive)

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

But a threadbare majority will pose immediate challenges for GOP leaders and complicate the party’s ability to govern.

More than a week after Election Day, Republicans on Wednesday secured the 218th seat needed to flip the House from Democratic control. The full scope of the party’s majority may not be clear for several more days — or weeks — as votes in competitive races are still being counted.

But they are on track to cobble together what could be the party's narrowest majority of the 21st century, rivaling 2001, when Republicans had just a nine-seat majority, 221-212 with two independents. 

That's far short of the sweeping victory Republicans predicted going into this year’s midterm elections when the party hoped to reset the agenda on Capitol Hill by capitalising on economic challenges and Biden's lagging popularity.

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Biden congratulates Republican leader

Instead, Democrats showed surprising resilience, holding on to moderate, suburban districts from Virginia to Minnesota and Kansas. 

The results could complicate House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy's plans to become speaker as some conservative members have questioned whether to back him or have imposed conditions for their support.

Immediately after the results, President Biden congratulated McCarthy, saying he is "ready to work with House Republicans to deliver results for working families."

"The American people want us to get things done for them," he said in a statement issued by the White House.

"I will work with anyone – Republican or Democrat – willing to work with me to deliver results for them," he said.

Last week's vote, Biden said, was "a strong rejection of election deniers, political violence and intimidation" and demonstrated "the strength and resilience of American democracy."

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No 'red wave' in America

Tweeting soon after the projection was called, McCarthy said that "Americans are ready for a new direction, and House Republicans are ready to deliver."

The news came one day after former president Donald Trump — who loomed large during the election cycle, and whose endorsement appears to have doomed some of his party's candidates — announced a new run for the White House.

With inflation surging and Biden's popularity ratings cratering, Republicans had hoped to see a "red wave" wash over America, giving them control of both houses and hence an effective block over most of Biden's legislative plans.

But instead, Democratic voters — galvanised by the Supreme Court's overturning of abortion rights and wary of Trump-endorsed candidates who openly rejected the result of the 2020 presidential election — turned out in force.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies