The 117th session of the House of Representatives ran from Jan. 3, 2021–Jan. 3, 2023, when the 118th session began. Going into the 2022 midterm elections, the House party composition was 220 Democrats, 213 Republicans, and 2 vacancies. Although pollsters had predicted that a “red wave” of Republicans would be elected to Congress, the GOP regained control of the House with a narrower margin than expected, reversing the party composition to 220 Republicans, 213 Democrats, and 2 vacancies for the 118th session.
Longtime Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is stepping down from her leadership role in the Democratic party in 2022 and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who served as Minority Leader during the 117th session, is expected to be elected as the new speaker in 2023.
The major bills passed by the House during the 117th Congress include the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Paycheck Protection Plan Extension Act of 2021, the Social Security Fairness Act of 2021, the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021, the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022, the Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 in support of veterans, and the antitrust legislation titled the American Innovation and Choice Online Act.
January 6, 2021
- When the House of Representatives participated in a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 Electoral College results—typically a ceremonial formality—139 Republican members voted to reject electors from Arizona and/or Pennsylvania. The objection to counting Arizona’s electors raised by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) was defeated by a vote of 303–121. When Rep. Scott Perry (R-Penn.) raised similar objections about Pennsylvania’s electors, his effort was defeated 282–138.
- On July 1, 2021, the House voted nearly along party lines (222–190) to create a House Select Committee to investigate the attack on the Capitol after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked the formation of a bicameral commission to do the same thing. Only two Republicans, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), voted in favor of establishing the committee.
- Both Cheney and Kinzinger were condemned by their party for voting to investigate the insurrection. Cheney was not only stripped of her leadership position as conference chair but in August 2022 lost her primary bid to Harriet Hagerman, a far-right candidate endorsed by Trump and the GOP who claimed “we don’t know” if Biden legitimately won the 2020 election.
- After recapturing the chamber in the 2022 midterms, House Republicans are reportedly plotting revenge on Democrats for actions undertaken by the House Select Committee. They are allegedly planning to form a new Republican-controlled committee to investigate Pelosi’s role in ensuring security at the Capitol and alleged mistreatment of rioters who have been jailed and prosecuted for their role in the insurrection, among other grievances.
- As part of its investigation, the House Select Committee looked into several Republican representatives who interacted with the rioters on Jan. 6, including Reps. Scott Perry (R-Penn.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
The Big Lie
- Just before the attack on the Capitol and disruption of the congressional session underway, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) helped fire up the crowd at the March to Save America rally. “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass,” he said, adding: “Our ancestors sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes, and sometimes their lives to give us—their descendants—an America that is the greatest nation in world history.”
- On Jan. 6, 2021, a number of representatives took to the House floor to object to the certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) said that Arizona and other states did not follow the Constitution by allowing state election officials (mostly secretaries of state) to unilaterally adjust election procedures (due to the pandemic). Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) argued that the “American people instinctively know there was something wrong with this election” because Trump drew larger crowds than Biden during the campaign.
- An October 2021 analysis by The New York Times identified Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) as the originator of the election objection argument citing the Constitution, which provided cover for numerous other House Republicans (including Scalise) to defend Trump without explicitly endorsing claims of election fraud that they knew were false and baseless.
- Analysis by FiveThirtyEight concluded that 118 election deniers from the Republican party ran for House seats in the 2022 midterm elections.
- Denying the validity of the 2020 election and calling for “election integrity” became more commonplace among House Republicans during the 2022 midterm election cycle, according to The New York Times. Many Republicans also became more emboldened about campaigning on the Big Lie, echoing Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), for instance, who insisted that Trump was “absolutely” cheated out of a second term.