Republicans elected a new speaker of the House on Wednesday, ending 22 days of a paralyzed chamber after a group of rebels overthrew Rep. Kevin McCarthy. Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana was nominated as the new speaker after three previous nominees failed to secure enough votes. Johnson was able to unify the fractious conference and gain support from both right-wing detractors of McCarthy and centrist Republicans who opposed Rep. Jim Jordan.
Johnson, a relatively unknown congressman who was first elected in 2016, represents a solidly Republican district in north and western Louisiana. He has quickly risen through the ranks, chairing the conservative Republican Study Committee and serving as the House Republican conference vice chair. Johnson also sits on several committees, including the Judiciary Committee, the Armed Services Committee, and the newly created select committee on the “Weaponization of the Federal Government.”
One notable aspect of Johnson’s career is his role in promoting 2020 election denial. He played a key role in crafting arguments to keep Donald Trump in power despite his loss in the election. Johnson argued that certain states’ changes to their voting procedures during the Covid-19 pandemic were unconstitutional. This argument gained more traction among lawmakers than the baseless claims of mass fraud. In the end, 147 Republicans voted to block the certification of Joe Biden electors. Johnson’s involvement in the election objections has drawn criticism and raised questions about his role in undermining democracy.
In addition to his role in election denial, Johnson has a solidly conservative voting record. He has consistently voted against bipartisan bills, including those related to establishing a Jan. 6 independent commission, infrastructure, and gun control. Johnson has also been a strong opponent of abortion rights and LGBTQ rights. He has voted against legislation to codify same-sex marriage and has proposed bills aimed at restricting federal funding for programs involving children and sexuality. Critics argue that these bills are discriminatory and harmful to LGBTQ individuals.
Despite his relatively short time in Congress, Johnson has gained the support of former President Donald Trump. While Trump stopped short of officially endorsing Johnson, he suggested that the House elect him as speaker. Trump’s support, albeit indirect, likely played a role in Johnson’s success in the speaker election.
Johnson’s election as speaker marks a historic moment for Louisiana, as he becomes the state’s first speaker of the House. With Majority Leader Steve Scalise, also from Louisiana, as the second-ranking House Republican, the state now holds significant influence within the GOP leadership.
However, Johnson’s lack of experience has raised concerns among some members of Congress. With fewer than seven years in the House, Johnson has less experience than past speakers in modern history. Some Republican senators have expressed uncertainty about how the House will function under a speaker with little leadership or committee chair experience.
Overall, Johnson’s election as speaker brings both opportunity and challenges for the Republican Party. As he takes on this new role, Johnson will need to navigate a deeply divided chamber and lead his party through a critical time in American politics.
Original Story at www.nbcnews.com – 2023-10-25 18:17:49