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The incoming Congress will look very different from the last

The 118th Congress starts work on Jan. 3.
U.S. House of Representatives congress
Posted at 6:00 AM, Jan 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-02 12:05:11-05

WASHINGTON — A new Congress takes over in Washington. Republicans will control the House, while the Democrats will control the Senate.

So why does that matter? How will things be different?

UNCERTAINTY ABOUNDS

The new Congress will undoubtedly be full of more uncertainty, at least in the beginning.

That uncertainty starts with California Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy.

He has led Republicans in the House since 2019 and wants to succeed Rep. Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.

However, to get that job, he needs 218 votes on the House floor Tuesday.

Why are 218 votes hard to get — especially since Republicans have taken back control of Congress?

It's simple math. The new Congress begins with 222 Republicans and 212 Democrats.

There is one vacancy. No Democrats are expected to back McCarthy.

To get 218 votes, McCarthy could only lose a handful from his party.

Previously, at least five Republicans have said they won't support him. If McCarthy can't secure enough votes, another Republican may be nominated for the job instead.

Currently, McCarthy's deputy is Rep. Steve Scalise, a Congressman from Louisiana.

The constitution says you don't need to be a member of Congress actually to be Speaker of the House. However, that scenario has never happened.

If you are wondering: Why does this job matter? It is second-in-line to the presidency, and the job dictates what bills can come up for a vote in the House.

DIVERSITY INCREASES

While the leadership in Congress is a bit uncertain right now, what is certain is that this will be the most diverse legislative body in American history.

One hundred forty-nine women will serve in the 118th Congress. That's a record.

One hundred twenty-four women will serve in the House — a record too.

There will be 18 Latina congresswomen: Another record.

27 Black women will serve in the House is also a record.

While the new Congress will be more diverse, it's unclear how productive they will be as they get set to begin.

With Republicans controlling the House and Democrats controlling the Senate, more gridlock is anticipated.

More investigations are expected as well.

Republicans have vowed to hold President Biden more accountable over his family's business dealings and his policies at the southern border.