After weeks of uncertainty, the House has elected Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) as the 56th Speaker, bringing to an end a chaotic three weeks that left the lower chamber in a state of disarray.
House Republicans are banking on Johnson’s leadership to navigate a series of legislative and political challenges in the coming weeks and months, although it promises to be no easy feat in the fractured GOP conference.
Johnson, who previously served as the vice chair of the House Republican Conference during his second term, secured the Speaker’s gavel with a 220-209 vote, triumphing over Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).
He received unanimous support from Republicans on the House floor, marking a rare moment of unity within the party.
Johnson’s ascendancy marks the conclusion of a turbulent and tumultuous period for the House GOP, during which McCarthy was ousted, and the conference cycled through four Speaker nominees. Tensions within the party reached a boiling point before ultimately coalescing around Johnson as the new leader.
Key Debates Loom
As the Speaker takes office, several major legislative deadlines loom.
Congress is facing a November 17 deadline to fund the government and the White House, requesting lawmakers to approve a $100 billion national security supplemental to support Israel and Ukraine amid their ongoing conflicts.
Johnson will also need to address debates over government funding. McCarthy’s removal was, in part, due to his support for a “clean” stopgap proposal to fund the government until November 17 and prevent a shutdown. Johnson has suggested the possibility of a stopgap measure extending into next year to avoid an omnibus package, a proposition that some hard-liners may find more palatable than McCarthy’s approach.
Johnson’s rapid ascent to the Speakership unfolded in under a day. The process leading to his election was protracted and fraught with personal animosity, bare-knuckle tactics, and even the involvement of former President Trump. House Republicans found themselves in a state of internal turmoil for three weeks following McCarthy’s removal.
The Speaker-designate emphasized his readiness to address the challenges that lie ahead and reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to its allies and partners around the world.
With Johnson’s swearing-in, the House is signaling its return to normalcy after weeks of turmoil. Johnson, a man of deep faith and a consensus pick for Republicans, now assumes the role of Speaker and sets his sights on guiding the GOP through the tumultuous political landscape.
His tenure as Speaker will undoubtedly be marked by his ability to navigate the complex dynamics of the GOP conference and manage critical legislative tasks while fostering unity and hope within the party.
What The Experts Told Us
Adam Bruton, a Senior Researcher at the London-based intelligence firm Winter Circle Ltd, told 19FortyFive that he thought “The GOP’s hope of retaining their House majority next year is now highly likely to end in disaster.”
However, he stressed that a Johnson speakership was “Probably the best bet for the right of the party – he’s reliably a Trump guy, also a pretty keen culture warrior on issues like abortion and trans rights, but with him being a Louisiana Catholic his views are slightly more marketable.
“He has been proposed as a compromise before, both when McCarthy couldn’t win the first time and after he was ousted.
“However, Johnson is possibly the most conservative speaker in modern US history – he will be anathema to moderates for his positions on a number of issues, and all accounts suggest he’s a true believer,” Bruton concluded.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.