09 November 2022
Republicans made small gains, but Democrats performed better than expected in the midterm elections in the United States. The results left control of the U.S. Congress and the future of President Joe Biden's policies unclear at this time.
All 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives were up for election. The Republican Party needed to gain five seats to win control. By early Wednesday morning, Republicans had won a net of six Democratic House seats. But that number could change as more results are released.
In the U.S. Senate, 35 of the 100 seats are being contested. The Senate is currently evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. However, Vice President Kamala Harris is able to provide a tie-breaking vote for the Democrats. Republicans need to gain only one seat to take the majority.
Several important races that will decide control of the Senate remained too close to declare a winner. And election officials warned that it could take days before the results are known.
Democrats were successful in winning governor's races in the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Republicans won in Florida and Georgia, with Nevada and Arizona yet to be decided. Those states were important in deciding the winner of the last presidential election won by Biden.
What's on voters' minds?
Just as Republicans had hoped, high inflation was the top consideration for American voters in the midterm elections, a study by VoteCast said. The study of more than 94,000 voters nationwide was conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.
About half of voters said inflation weighed heavily in their vote as the costs of food, gasoline, and housing have greatly increased in the past year. About eight out of 10 said the U.S. economy was in bad shape. Some blamed Biden's policies and others said Russia's invasion of Ukraine led to the increase.
A smaller number, 44 percent, said the future of democracy was their main consideration. Biden had said Tuesday's election was a test of American democracy at a time when many Republicans welcomed Trump's claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn its abortion ruling in Roe v. Wade also played an important part in the midterm elections. Voters approved amendments to protect abortion in California and Vermont and defeated an anti-abortion measure in Kentucky. VoteCast showed that about six in 10, especially Democrats, said they are angry or unhappy with the Supreme Court's decision.
During the campaign, Republicans said they plan to seek cost savings in Social Security and Medicare. Those are the popular retirement and healthcare programs run by the government. They also want to make permanent the tax cuts enacted by Republicans in 2017.
Kevin McCarthy is favored to become speaker if Republicans win the majority in the House. He has promised to look for spending cuts in government programs favored by Biden. He told CNN that Republicans would also look closely at continued U.S. arms and financial aid for Ukraine to combat Russia's invasion.
Other Republican lawmakers have promised to investigate Biden's immigration policy at the southern border and the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Some have called for hearings on business activities by the president's son, Hunter.
Biden watched the election results from the White House into the early morning hours of Wednesday. He called to congratulate more than 30 Democratic candidates and told party officials "we're going to surprise the living devil out of people."
The Associated Press reported that Biden's aides have been drawing up plans to deal with possible Republican control of one or both chambers of Congress -- a possibility that Biden recognized would make his life "more difficult."
In two years, the Biden administration pushed through bills to deal with the pandemic and rebuild the nation's roads and bridges. It also set climate policies and attempted to increase U.S. competitiveness with China.
Now, aides and allies say, Biden will work to save those gains and prepare his party for the next presidential election.
I'm Mario Ritter, Jr.
Hai Do adapted this report for VOA Learning English from Associated Press, VOANews and Reuters sources.
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abortion –n. a medical operation that ends a pregnancy