GOP House Majority Even Slimmer

( – Ohio GOP Representative Bill Johnson’s early departure from the House tightens the Republicans’ slim majority in Congress. He announced on January 2 that he would step down on January 21 before assuming the presidency of Youngstown State University in March.

In his resignation letter, Johnson expressed pride in his district, describing it as “proud and patriotic,” but also alluded to neglect by “America’s elites.” He emphasized the crucial role of blue-collar communities, often called “flyover country,” in building the nation’s history and stressed their importance in America’s future. WFMJ reported that he humbly acknowledged being repeatedly elected to serve these communities.

After Johnson’s exit, the House will consist of 219 Republicans, 213 Democrats, and three vacancies. With only 219 Republicans, the GOP can only afford to lose two votes on any party-line issues with full attendance. Kevin McCarthy, the former Speaker, left on December 31, and George Santos, the GOP Representative from New York, was expelled last month.

The slimmer majority could pose challenges, particularly as spending bills are required to keep the government open. Additionally, the House faces pressing matters like funding for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia and supporting Israel amid ongoing operations in Gaza following the October 7 attack by Hamas. The government funding legislation is set to expire in two stages: January 19 and February 2, following Johnson’s planned departure.

A special election has been scheduled for February 13 to fill the vacancy left by Santos in New York’s third Congressional District. Former Democratic Representative Tom Souzzi, nominated by his party, aims to reclaim the seat he vacated to pursue the governorship.

Republicans have selected Mazi Melesa Pilip, a Nassau County Legislature member. Born in Ethiopia, she moved to Israel at 12 and arrived in the US in 2005. The race is close, with one poll showing Souzzi leading Pilip by three points.

New York Democratic Representative Brian Higgins, 64, will depart from the House next month, providing the GOP with some breathing room. He cited frustration with the slow pace of progress in Washington as a factor in his decision.

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