The Nation and the World

Mike Johnson is now the Speaker of the House

On October 25, Mike Johnson (R-LA) was elected to serve as the speaker of the House of Representatives after three weeks of tension and three failed candidates. He is the 55th male Speaker, with Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) being the only woman who has served in this role. 

Johnson was elected after Republicans and Democrats voted to oust previous House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in a historic 216-210 vote on October 3. This was the first time in U.S. history that the House voted to remove a speaker from their position. McCarthy’s eviction comes after frustration among House members surrounding his deal with Democrats for a 45-day stopgap funding bill that averted a federal government shutdown. This deal was controversial among Republicans, particularly Matt Gaetz (R-FL) who led the charge against McCarthy.

Since 2017, Johnson has represented the fourth Congressional District of Louisiana. He grew up in Louisiana and attended Louisiana State University for undergraduate and law school where he earned his degree in law. 

Additionally, Johnson is a member of the Republican Party and a supporter of former President Donald Trump. Johnson was notably a prominent voice in the belief that the voting ballots were allegedly “rigged” in Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the 2020 election. 

Two days after media outlets projected Biden’s win over Trump, Johnson tweeted, “President Trump called me last night and I was encouraged to hear his continued resolve to ensure that every LEGAL vote gets properly counted and that all instances of fraud and illegality are investigated and prosecuted. Fair elections are worth fighting for!”.

Johnson is also outspoken about his religious beliefs as a Christian and how it influences his political decisions. When he first ran for his House seat in northwest Louisiana in 2016, he told the Baptist website The Message that he feels “called to legal ministry” and that he’s “been out on the front lines of the ‘culture war’ defending religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and biblical values, including the defense of traditional marriage, and other ideals like these when they’ve been under attack”.  

As stated by PBS, the Speaker of the House is expected to fulfill three roles. The first role includes being the “most visible and authoritative spokesperson for the majority party in the House” along with “articulating an agenda and explaining legislative action to other Washington officials and the public”. 

Role two includes the “management of the business on the floor, navigation of legislative rules, and structuring House debate in a way that will advantage their legislative priorities”. 

Finally, role three requires the speaker to “oversee everything from accounting to procurement for the house”. Procurement is the “process of locating and agreeing to terms and purchasing goods, services, or other works from an external source”. Also, the speaker is second in line behind the vice president to fulfill the presidential role if the current president were to die, step down, or be impeached. 

Image Source: The New York Times

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