Looking Ahead: Congressional Spending Fights and 2024 House Elections: Kiplinger Economic Forecasts

A SCOTUS decision against gerrymandering could affect House races. Also, Congress battles over spending to avoid a shutdown.

The US Capitol building on a sunny day.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

What's next for U.S. politics? Prepare for spending fights and highly contested House seats in the 2024 election. To help you understand what is going on and what we expect to happen in the future, our highly-experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest...

A recent Supreme Court ruling will upend the 2024 House elections. In a 5-4 decision, the Court struck down an Alabama congressional map and will require the state to include a second predominantly black district in its redrawn congressional map under the Voting Rights Act. 

As a result, Republicans will lose a handful of seats in various Southern states, most notably Alabama, but odds are Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina will also be affected. Look for Democrats to gain anywhere from two to four House seats as a result of this ruling and its effect on other racial gerrymandering cases. 

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The GOP currently has a slim, 10-seat majority in the chamber, so even a few extra Democratic seats could threaten Republicans’ hold.

The usual congressional fights over spending will be even worse this year. Lawmakers will struggle to navigate binding caps on discretionary spending that will be in effect for the next two years because of the recent debt-limit deal

Nondefense discretionary spending will be roughly flat in fiscal year 2024 and will increase by 1% in 2025, effectively a budget cut, once inflation is factored in. Defense discretionary spending will increase by 3.3% in the next fiscal year, followed by a smaller, 1% increase in FY 2025, the same as nondefense spending. 

Plus, several House Republicans want to go below the agreed-to caps and are now twisting the arm of Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to side with them. But even if McCarthy backs the hard-line members of his caucus, legislation that cuts spending so severely would go nowhere in the Democrat-controlled Senate. The situation increases the odds of a government shutdown this fall.

This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

Matthew Housiaux
Reporter, The Kiplinger Letter
Housiaux covers the White House and state and local government for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in June 2016, he lived in Sioux Falls, SD, where he was the forum editor of Augustana University's student newspaper, the Mirror. He also contributed stories to the Borgen Project, a Seattle-based nonprofit focused on raising awareness of global poverty. He earned a B.A. in history and journalism from Augustana University.