This is the happiest man in Washington

When the 117th Congress convenes earlier next year, Democrats will control 222 seats to 213 for Republicans. Which is pretty slim!

But within weeks, that margin will get even narrower with the departures of Democratic Reps. Cedric Richmond (Louisiana) and Marcia Fudge (Ohio) entering the Biden administration.
While Richmond and Fudge will be replaced by Democrats in special elections, it will take a while — and in the interim Speaker Nancy Pelosi (California) will be forced to deal with one of the smallest House majorities ever. 
“I’m certainly concerned by the slimming of the majority,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Maryland) on Wednesday. “I indicated to the administration very early on that I wanted them to be very careful in terms of the members that they appointed from Congress.”

    That’s all very good news for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who oversaw stunning double-digit GOP seat gains in 2020. (House Republicans didn’t lose a single incumbent in the election.)
    Why? Because it means that Pelosi will almost certainly have to deal with McCarthy on the front end of most contentious legislation over the next two years — knowing she will need a few GOP votes to secure a majority.
    While it is certainly possible that Pelosi will be able to keep her 220 Democrats entirely in line for some legislation, the fractures within the party — primarily between its ascendant liberal wing and its more pragmatic, centrist arm — likely mean that on many occasions she simply won’t have every Democrat with her.
    Which is a BIG change from how things worked over the last two years when Democrats controlled more than 230 seats — and, therefore, almost never need to deal with Republicans on any sort of compromise.
    “It’s going to be an exciting next two years, but we have work to get done this time as well,” McCarthy said last month after being reelected unanimously as the leader of House Republicans.
      There’s also this: Historic trends suggest that the first midterm election of a president leads to major seat losses for his party in the House. (Only twice since 1938 has a president’s party won House seats in his first midterm election.) If past is prologue, McCarthy may well be banging down’s the speaker’s gavel come January 2023.
      The Point: McCarthy is positioned to matter more over the next two years than at any time since he entered GOP leadership. And to serve as the 55th speaker of the House in the 118th Congress.

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