Mike Johnson Elected Speaker of the House with Widespread Republican Support

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Republicans gladly elected Rep. Mike Johnson as House speaker on Wednesday, elevating a highly conservative but lesser-known leader to the seat of US power and putting an end to the political upheaval in their majority for the time being.

Johnson of Louisiana won on the first ballot with the backing of all Republicans eager to put the last several weeks of turmoil behind them and get back to the job of governing.

Johnson, a lower-ranking member of the House GOP leadership team, emerged as the fourth Republican contender in an almost ludicrous cycle of political infighting since Kevin McCarthy’s resignation as GOP factions jostle for control. While not the party’s first option for the presidency, the highly pious and even-tempered Johnson has few opponents and a key GOP supporter in Donald Trump.

“I think he’s going to be a fantastic speaker,” Trump said Wednesday in New York, where the former president, who is now the Republican front-runner for president in 2024, is on trial for corporate fraud.

Trump stated that he had not heard “a single negative comment about him.” Everyone adores him.”

Three weeks without a House speaker, Republicans have been squandering their majority status – a vexing embarrassment to some, democracy in action to others, but not at all how the House is supposed to work.

Members on the far right have refused to accept a more conventional speaker, while moderate conservatives do not want a hardliner. Despite the fact that Johnson had no opponents during the secret roll call late Tuesday, over two dozen Republicans did not vote, which was more than enough to derail his candidacy.

Republicans rose to their feet for a lengthy standing ovation as GOP Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik introduced Johnson’s name as their nominee on Wednesday.

“House Republicans and Speaker Mike Johnson will never give up,” she went on to say.

Democrats selected Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York as their leader once more, denouncing Johnson as an architect of Trump’s legal quest to overturn the 2020 presidential election, which he lost.

With Republicans dominating the House by a mere 221-212 margin over Democrats, Johnson can afford a few opponents to win the presidency.

Overnight, endorsements for Johnson began to pour in, including from failed speaker candidates — Rep. Jim Jordan, the hard-charging Judiciary Committee chairman, backed Johnson, as did Majority Leader Steve Scalise, a fellow Louisiana congressman who supported Johnson after he won the nomination.

“Mike! Mike! Mike!” legislators screamed at a news conference following the late-night internal vote, around Johnson and taking pictures in solidarity.

Republican legislators are anxious and fatigued, and they are urgently trying to move on.

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Mike Johnson Emerges as Potential GOP Speaker Amid Turmoil and Internal Strife

Johnson’s rise follows a turbulent month that culminated in a head-spinning Tuesday that saw one candidate, Rep. Tom Emmer, the GOP Whip, nominated and then quickly withdraw when it became clear that he would be the third candidate unable to secure enough support from GOP colleagues after Trump slammed his nomination.

“He wasn’t MAGA,” Trump added, alluding to his campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”

Johnson’s attention was soon drawn to him. Johnson, a constitutional lawyer, has galvanized Republicans behind Trump’s legal effort to overturn the 2020 election results.

Elevating Johnson to speaker would offer Louisians two high-ranking GOP leaders, putting him above Scalise, who was defeated in his own attempt for speaker by hardliners.

Johnson, a very devout man with a strong belief system, is pleasant and much loved. Colleagues quickly began to show their support.

“Democracy is messy sometimes, but it’s our system,” Johnson remarked after being nominated. “We’re going to restore your trust in what we do here.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who led a small group of hardliners in orchestrating McCarthy’s downfall earlier this month, said on Twitter that “Mike Johnson won’t be the Speaker the Swamp wants, but he is the Speaker America needs.”

Republicans have been floundering all month, unable to complete basic business while they quarrel amongst themselves, despite the fact that they face enormous problems.

If Congress fails to enact financing legislation by the Nov. 17 deadline to keep services and offices running, the federal government might shut down in a couple of weeks. More urgently, President Joe Biden has requested Congress for $105 billion in aid to assist Israel and Ukraine in their battles, as well as to fortify the United States’ border with Mexico. Without action, federal aviation and farming programs will expire.

Many hardliners have been rejecting a leader who voted for McCarthy’s budget deal with Biden earlier this year, which established government spending levels that far-right Republicans disagree with and now seek to reverse. With next month’s fiscal deadline approaching, they are proposing even deeper cuts to government programs and services.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia demanded guarantees from the candidates that they would pursue impeachment proceedings against Biden and other key Cabinet officials.

During the chaos, the House is currently governed by a speaker pro tempore, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., the chairman of the Financial Services Committee who wears a bow tie. His primary responsibility is to select a more permanent speaker.

Some Republicans — and Democrats — wanted to give McHenry greater authority so he could get on with the job of governing. McHenry, the first person to hold the office formed as an emergency measure in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, declined to support those overtures. He was also given a standing ovation.

 

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Source: The Daily Record

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