House GOP majority to shrink again in time for potential government shutdown showdown

The House Republican majority is set to shrink yet again as the GOP prepares for a potential showdown over government funding next month.

With six GOP lawmakers’ announcing their retirements in the last two weeks, Republicans are now set to concede at least 10 House seats in November’s midterm elections. That would reduce the Republican majority from 241 seats to 231 — a slim margin that could make it difficult for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to pass controversial legislation or wrangle the votes needed to avert a potential government shutdown in early 2019.

A government shutdown has loomed as an increasingly likely possibility since President Donald Trump and Republican leaders in Congress struggled to secure a budget deal for fiscal year 2019 last week. A dozen appropriations bills must be finalized before December 7 — two days before the current funding runs out — and if they don’t, Congress will need to pass a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open.

The wildly partisan climate in Washington is expected to make this a difficult task, and even having the numbers for a majority may not help much in this case. With Democrats increasingly energized heading into November, more GOP retirements — as well as losses on Election Day — could further shrink the Republican majority and put Ryan in a much weaker posture as a possible shutdown showdown approaches.

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