It appears increasingly likely that the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives will shrink even further in the coming days, setting the stage for yet another possible shutdown showdown as Congress grapples with a series of fiscal deadlines.
With Democratic candidate Dan McCready leading his Republican rival, Mark Harris, in the North Carolina 9th congressional district race, the GOP will likely lose at least one seat in the House of Representatives. Democrats had already netted more than two-dozen seats in the November 2018 elections.
A loss in North Carolina would further shrink an already slim Republican majority, leaving the party with 218 out of 435 House seats. That’s far from the 218 votes needed to pass legislation, raising the possibility that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats could force the Republican Party to compromise in the event of a shutdown showdown later this month.
In the coming weeks, the House and Senate are expected to consider several appropriations bills to fund federal agencies temporarily until the end of the fiscal year. With House votes likely to be close, the shrinking GOP majority could mean Democrats have the leverage when it comes to negotiating a spending package.
The government is set to shut down if the chambers can’t reach an agreement before December 21, a potential disaster for the GOP, which took a lot of heat last year when a major government shutdown paralyzed much of the federal government. House Republicans have been hoping that the booming economy and the squeeze of a smaller majority might encourage Democrats to back a two-week continuing resolution to keep the government running while a spending bill is negotiated.
Only time will tell if the Republican’s shrinking majority will be enough to give the Democrats leverage in this potential shutdown showdown.