House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was already looking at an extremely slim Democrat advantage in the House and now, thanks to Joe Biden, that lead may be shrinking even more.
This week, President-elect Biden nominated Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., to become Secretary of the Interior. Her selection and exit from the House paired with Biden’s additional selections of House members Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, and Cedric Richmond, D-La. will leave the lower chamber with a tight 219 majority.
A party needs 218 seats for a majority among the 435-member House, giving Pelosi just a one-seat cushion at 219 seats.
The power balance in the Senate is a big reason why Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders haven’t been nominated for a position by Biden. If Biden were to pull even one Senator away it could hurt his chances of being able to pass his agenda. The two Georgia runoff races next month will determine if Republicans maintain their majority. Democrats winning both of the Georgia seats would tie the two parties for control of the upper chamber, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking votes.
In an interview with NBC last month, Biden said, “I have a very ambitious, very progressive agenda and it’s going to take really strong leaders in the House and Senate to get it done.”
So far, Pelosi has signaled her support for the Biden selections, but three seats are likely as far as Pelosi would want to go before putting the Democrat majority in serious jeopardy.