The Democrats' win also places them in the position to investigate the Trump administration, including the Russian connection to President Donald Trump's campaign, controversial spending by his Cabinet secretaries and Trump's personal income tax returns, according to NBC.
McCarthy declined to assign blame for any midterm losses to the president and his bombastic immigration-centric rhetoric.
Senate Democrats also maintained their basic leadership, with Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of NY winning another term after limiting his party's losses last week. McCarthy, the House's majority leader since 2014, will serve as minority leader come January.
Democrats want to "disrupt" and "impeach", McCarthy said.
Next in line for the GOP leadership hierarchy in the new Congress is Rep. Steve Scalise, the current No. 3 House Republican, who successfully vied for the position of minority whip in the new Congress. Scalise, as majority whip, gained a higher national profile after he was injured previous year in a shooting during a Republican congressional baseball practice. He's a frequent guest on Fox News who has vigorously defended the president and raised questions about the legitimacy of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling during the 2016 election.
Democrats have a laundry list of other matters they want to investigate - the president's tax returns, possible violations of the Emoluments Clause, internal administration communications that led to the immigrant family separation policy at the US border - but have said they know they will need to be methodical and prioritize.
Louisiana Republican Steve Scalise-unanimously elected Wednesday to continue as the GOP whip in the next Congress-had been prepared to launch his own bid for speaker if McCarthy were to fall short. "But if they are just interested in increasing taxes and attacking the president, I think they will overreach and hand us back the majority".More news: Oil rout runs to 12 days on supercharged selling
He fended off a challenge from Jim Jordan, the co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
He now is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a role he has held since 2015.
He initially threatened to shut down the government on October 1 if Congress didn't give him the money, but GOP leaders warned such a tactic would hurt them during the midterms.
"So one of the first things we do, after doing all of that, is we thank that architect who happens to be the one and only woman speaker in the history of this body?" said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Virginia Democrat.
In the House, Jordan and McCarthy shook hands after a testy two days of closed-door sessions, according to lawmakers in the room for Wednesday's voting.
"I've gotten close with Kevin McCarthy". As of Wednesday afternoon it was not clear where Jordan or Meadows would land. Steve Chabot of OH and Doug Collins of Georgia prepare to court steering committee votes for the post.
Although his nomination as Senate pro tempore nearly certainly will be approved next year, Grassley has yet to decide which committee he wants to lead. Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, the Freedom Caucus chairman, called it a "gentlemanly" debate. Trey Gowdy, is retiring in January.