Mike Johnson, a Republican congressman from Louisiana, has been elected as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives. The election of this 51-year-old politician ends the three-week-long paralysis of the House and may enable the adoption of the budget and aid funds for Ukraine and Israel.
Johnson won the votes of all Republican congressmen present and defeated Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries. The congressman from Louisiana, who had previously served as deputy head of the Republican caucus in the House, was not one of the leading figures in the party.
He was the fourth speaker candidate selected by the party since Kevin McCarthy was removed from office on October 3. His predecessors failed to gain support due to the conflict between the moderate and extreme wings of the party.
The two previous candidates – majority leader Steve Scalise and whip (equivalent to the head of the parliamentary club – ed.) Tom Emmer – were rejected by the most right wing with the approval of the former president Donald Trumpand the candidacy of the radicals’ favorite, Jim Jordan, was blocked by centrists.
“The country demands strong leadership”
– Chaos and violence shook the Middle East and Eastern Europe. We all know that tensions continue to rise in the Indo-Pacific region. The country demands strong leadership from this body and we must not hesitate, Johnson said choice as speaker, adding that the first act considered under his chairmanship will be a non-binding resolution on support for Israel.
He said that his priorities will also be border security and reducing debt, which is – in his opinion – “the greatest threat to national security.”
Johnson previously headed one of the right-wing groups, the Republican Study Committee. According to the Washington Post, he is the least experienced announcer in over 80 years. He has been a congressman since 2017, but has never headed any committee.
So far, the congressman has not been well known either to the wider public or even to some of his colleagues from Congress.
The 51-year-old politician has so far become famous mainly as one of the leading accomplices in Congress behind the strategy to reverse the results of the presidential election, lost by Donald Trump. The media called him the “architect” of these efforts, including supporting a complaint to the Supreme Court to invalidate elections in four key states.
Joe Biden’s comment
The US president was asked about this matter on Wednesday Joe Biden he said he was not worried that the new speaker might prevent the certification of the results of future elections because he believed in American institutions. – Just like I wasn’t worried when the previous guy tried to reverse the election results. They sent 60 complaints to the courts, all the way to the Supreme Court, and they lost every time, Biden said.
One of the main tasks facing the new speaker will be responding to the White House’s request for a package of additional aid funds Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan with a total value of USD 105 billion. Although most congressmen of both parties support continued support for Ukraine, it is up to the speaker to decide whether and when to allow a vote.
Although he initially supported Ukraine, he later consistently voted against supporting Kiev. On Wednesday, however, he said he was never against it and announced on CBS that “we will talk about support and what it takes to get it.”
Opposition leader Hakeem Jeffries said that the House’s priority should now be to pass the White House proposal “in its entirety”, i.e. including funds for Ukraine and Israel together.
Johnson also spoke in favor of passing a new interim budget – the current one expires on November 17 – to give Congress more time to pass a full new budget.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA