Editor’s Note: Julian Zelizer, a CNN political analyst, is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author and editor of 24 books, including, “The Presidency of Donald J. Trump: A First Historical Assessment.” Follow him on Twitter @julianzelizer. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion on CNN.

CNN  — 

Republicans finally got some good news about the midterms. They have gained control of the House of Representatives.

This outcome will bring a bit of relief to a party that was walloped in the midterms. After weeks of speculation of a Republican red wave, Democrats were the party that came out on top. Democrats have retained control of the Senate – and will possibly expand their majority in December – they performed well in state legislative and gubernatorial elections, and they defeated many election deniers.

Given President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings, inflation and market turbulence as well as concerns about crime – combined with the historical trends of the opposition party usually doing well – these results were surprising.

But whether it is a ripple or a wave, any shift in the balance of power, even with the narrowest of majorities, will be extremely consequential. Even though Republicans did not gain the kind of seats seen in other “shellackings,” such as the GOP gains of 54 seats in 1994 and 63 in 2010, the House will now be a very different place for the Biden administration in 2023 than it is right now.

While the size of House majorities matters, the majority rules in the lower chamber. In contrast with the Senate, the rules of the House enable the party in power to move legislation effectively regardless of whether there is any support from the other side of the aisle. The kind of dilatory tactics that any senator can deploy against majority leaders, such as the filibuster, are not readily available in the House (though Democrats would do well to remember how much they accomplished since 2021 with a 50-50 split in the Senate).

When control of the House switches hands, as happened to President Barack Obama in 2010, the new balance of power profoundly reshapes the political playing field for the administration. With Republicans in control of the House, the Biden administration will likely encounter a combination of investigations, conservative-agenda setting and obstruction.

Investigations: House Republicans plan to launch a flurry of investigations to keep allegations of scandal front and center over the next two years, which will make it difficult for Biden to focus attention on the policy issues that matter to his administration. Republicans already have laid the groundwork for hearings into Hunter Biden and his business deals, hoping to use the President’s son as a mechanism to tarnish the administration’s image.

Just as Republicans, as House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy once admitted, used the Benghazi hearings to damage Hillary Clinton’s national standing, Republicans will seek to do the same with Biden’s son, promoting a narrative of corruption that they believe would be effective in 2024. Federal prosecutors believe they could charge Hunter Biden with tax crimes and a false statement, but the US attorney in Delaware hasn’t made a final decision, CNN reported last month, citing sources familiar with the matter. The younger Biden has not been charged with any crime and has denied any wrongdoing in his business activities.

Impeachment hearings are also likely, including on the President and other top administration officials. (Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have been mentioned.)

Agenda setting: With control of the House, we would expect to see Republicans put legislation up for debate and a vote, even if there is no chance of passage. The goal will not be to obtain legislation but rather to force Democrats into politically difficult conversations and to mobilize the Republican base. Though less powerful than the President, the House speaker and majority leader have immense power to shape the national agenda.

After the 2006 midterms, when Democrats retook control of the House, they pushed the conversation toward issues such as