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Tom Suozzi Was Sworn In

Photo of U.S. Congress by Louis Velazquez on Unsplash

Representative Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) was sworn in to the House on Wednesday, reclaiming the seat he previously held and shrinking the GOP’s already slim majority in the chamber.

As you may recall, Suozzi won a special election in New York’s 3rd Congressional District earlier this month to replace former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) in the House and win back his old seat after the GOP lawmaker was expelled following a federal indictment and a scathing report from the Ethics Committee.

The Hill reported Suozzi’s swearing in brings the total number of lawmakers in the House to 432–219 Republicans and 213 Democrats — narrowing the GOP conference’s razor-thin majority. On any party-line vote going forward, Republicans will only be able to afford to lose two of their members and still see their priorities pass if all members are present and voting.

Speaker Mike Johnson, (R-La.) administered the oath of office to Suozzi on the House floor during Wednesday evening’s vote series. He was surrounded by members of the New York delegation.

According to The Hill, his victory flipped a key GOP seat blue, dealing a blow to Johnson and his conference. Johnson brushed off his party’s loss in the district, arguing the race was “in no way a bellwether” for the November elections and claiming Suozzi ran “like a Republican.”

Politico reported Suozzi’s bellwether victory can serve as a blueprint for both parties in critical suburban races where moderates will likely determine who controls the House in 2025 and who will run the White House.

And while he didn’t offer any criticism of the president as he returns to Washington, Suozzi did indicate that the migration issue isn’t one Democrats should shy away from. Suozzi won in a district that straddles Long Island and Queens, and the surge of migrants to the city has been top of mind for voters.

His Republican challenger Mazi Pilip tried to pin the problem on Democrats and Suozzi, but he was able to effectively counter the GOP’s strategy. He won by a solid 8 points in a nationally watched — and expensive — race.

Suozzi is not likely to stop discussing immigration any time soon. Democratic Minority Leader, and fellow New Yorker, Hakeem Jeffries announced Souzzi will serve on the House Homeland Security committee.

In short, flipping George Santos’ (Republican) seat to Tom Souzzi is significant. He gives the Democrats one more seat in Congress.

A number of Republicans have announced they will not run for reelection, USA Today reported. Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-NC, became the last in a string of lawmakers to announce they will not run for election in 2024.

Almost a dozen House GOP members announced in October and November their plans to retire from office at the end of their terms. The incumbents offered largely personal explanations, while some pointed to a distaste for Washington politics.

Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was ousted as Speaker of the House in October, CBS News reported. The ouster came after Republican Matt Gaetz acted Monday to force a vote on a motion to vacate the office of the speaker, following on a threat he made last week to take the gavel from the California Republican while the threat of a shutdown loomed.

CNN reported on February 19, 2024, that Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, a conservative who is retiring after bucking his party on several key issues. Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, a moderate who represents a key swing seat, pointed to his party’s struggle to govern as driving the departures.

Rep. Carlos Gimenez of Florida, an ally of deposed former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, said this is not how he or many of his colleagues imagined life in the majority, saying, “I thought that some of our members would be smarter.”

Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington is not even term limited yet, while China select committee Chair Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, a 39-year-old who was once seen as the future of the party, recently announced he was leaving Congress after facing intense blowback for voting against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

There are eight Republicans who chose to retire from the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, even cited gridlock cited in his recent retirement announcement, saying: “Our country — and our Congress — is broken beyond means of repair.”

Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona, who announced her retirement weeks after McCarthy was booted as speaker, has also pointed to the intransigence in Washington as a contributing factor.

Overall, it appears the Democrats have a good chance of retaking House Majority. It’s going to be much easier for them to push good policies through, especially since many Republicans are fleeing Congress.