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Mike Johnson elected Speaker of the House

Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) became Speaker of the House of Representatives today, first in his State, after a very short term of office.

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Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) today became Speaker of the House of Representatives, ending a 22-day vacancy in that office. He also became the first, and only, Speaker to win election to fill a mid-term vacancy of the chair that came about on a motion from the floor of the House.

Mike Johnson wins in one ballot

Mike Johnson came to the Speakership mainly by waiting for rejection after rejection of other Speaker candidates. The day before the House voted to elect him, the House Republican Conference held two nomination elections. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), House Majority Whip, won the first; Johnson came in second. But Emmer, realizing that twenty-six or twenty-seven fellow Republicans would refuse to support him on the floor, declined his nomination. Why he abruptly left the meeting in the Longworth House Office Building without a word to anyone, still remains unexplained. But today Emmer manfully cast his vote for Johnson, as did all 219 of his colleagues present. (Rep. Derrick Van Orden of Wisconsin is out of the country, presumably on a fact-finding tour of Israel. This trip is incident to the ongoing Fourth Arab-Israeli War.)

Of the 212 Democratic Members, 209 cast their votes for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), House Minority Leader. Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), Lou Correa (D-Calif.), and Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) were all absent. Rep. Gonzalez was also absent for Jim Jordan’s third vote, as was Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.)

Jeffries concedes

At 2:11 p.m., Rep. Jeffries made a brief concession speech, in which he highlighted Democratic support for three measures that then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) passed with Democratic help. Otherwise he repeated Democratic Party talking points, in what could have been a platform speech at a Democratic National Convention. He capped his speech with an assertion that Joe Biden won the Election of 2020, and no election fraud occurred.

The one possibly sour note he sounded, was to articulate apparently unqualified support for the State of Israel. At least three members of the so-called Squad have indicated their support for the quasi-state of Gaza. But between Jeffries and the Republican House leadership, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Arabic Harakah al-Muqāwamah al-Islāmiyyah, abbreviated HAMAS) would appear to have no solace in the current House of Representatives.

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He also saw fit to speak of “strengthening” of the union of States, in language recalling Abraham Lincoln’s speeches describing the United States as “a perpetual union.” Whether he intended a “dig” at, say, the Texas Nationalist Movement, is not clear.

While Jeffries was speaking, the microphones picked up a woman screaming at him. Punchbowl co-editor Jake Sherman identified the voice as that of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.)

Mike Johnson takes the gavel

At 2:25 p.m. EDT, Mike Johnson ascended the podium and accepted the gavel from Jeffries. He began with a gentle suggestion to Jeffries to “work together,” and with thanking Kevin McCarthy for his service. Johnson also emphasized his faith and spoke of his wife being in prayer for him. In fact he spoke a great deal about his extended family, and how important family is to Louisianans.

Johnson promised to bring to a vote, as his first bill, a resolution in support of the State of Israel. After that he spoke of the problems he considered critical to American security:

  • Immigration, apparently without effective restraint,
  • Inflation, and
  • The national debt, now at a record high.

Lastly he spoke of transparency and “decentralization” in the workings of the Speaker’s office, and the House. Then, with a message to “America’s adversaries” that “the people’s House is back in business,” he let Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the Dean (longest-serving Member) of the House, administer the Speaker’s oath.

Next, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) enthusiastically introduced two privileged resolutions to notify the Senate, and President Biden, of the election of a new Speaker. Those resolutions passed by acclamation.

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Reaction

In one of the most detestable boo-hoos on record, Troy Matthews at The Meidas Touch declared the beginning of “our long national nightmare.”

At 3:33 p.m. EDT, Jake Sherman received statements from the Biden-Harris campaign, and the White House, which he shared.

MAGA Mike Johnson’s accession to the Speakership cements the extreme MAGA takeover of the House Republican Conference. Now, Donald J. Trump has his loyal foot soldier to ban abortion nationwide, lead efforts to deny free and fair election results, gut Social Security and Medicare, and advance the extreme MAGA agenda at the exptense of middle-class families. 22 days before Congress must act to avoid a government shutdown and while our allies overseas at war depend on our help, extreme MAGA House Republicans elevated a man to second-in-line to the Presidency who still won’t admit President Biden won the 2020 Election. The American people have rejected the extreme MAGA ideology at the ballot box because they understand what’s at stake. And so to every MAGA Republican who supported this choice: We’ll see you in November. Ammar Moussa, Biden-Harris campaign spokesman

Jill and I congratulate Speaker Johnson on his election.

As I said when this process began, whoever the Speaker is, I will seek to work with them in good faith on behalf of the American people.

That’s a principle I have always held to, and that I’ve acted on – delivering major bipartisan legislation on infrastructure, outcompeting China, gun reform, and veterans’ carre.

I restated my willingness to continue working across the aisle after Republicans won the majority in the House last year. By the same token, the American people have made clear that they expect House Republicans to work with me and with Senate Democrats to govern across the aisle – to protect our urgent national security interests and grow our economy for the middle class.

While House Republicans spent the last 22 days determining who would lead their conference, I have worked on these pressing issues, proposing a historical supplemental funding package that advances our bipartisan national security interests in Israel and Ukraine, secures our border, and invests in the American people. These priorities have been endorsed by leaders in both parties.

We need to move swiftly to address out national security needs and to avoid a shutdown in 22 days.

Even though we have real disagreements about important issues, there should be mutual effort to find common ground wherever we can.

This is a time for all of us to act responsibly, and to put the good of the American people and the everyday priorities of American families above any partisanship. President Joe Biden

As this user said in reply:

The one is pressing an election campaign. Incidentally he also assumes that Donald Trump will have the nomination with full qualification to run for office. The other is talking about coalition governance – equivalent to “I’m an easy guy to get along with.”

Neither man is telling the truth – not about Mike Johnson, nor about anything else.

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About the man

Mary Lou Masters at The Daily Caller shared details about Mike Johnson this morning. Johnson is completing his fourth term in Congress, was Vice-Chairman of the Republican Conference, and sits on the Judiciary and Armed Services committees. He voted against certifying the Election of 2020 results, and in fact signed a friend-of-the-court brief in Texas v. Pennsylvania. 125 other Representatives signed the Motion for Leave to File. They addressed Executive Orders from the governors of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin,l that overrode existing law regarding absentee ballots. So, contrary to the assertions of various left-wing commentators, that brief did not specifically ask the Court to vacate all elections.

Texas asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the election, to resolve many election-integrity issues no court has resolved. (Courts have dismissed those cases for lack of standing, and never decided any such case on its merits.) But the Court declined, 7-2, with Justices Alito and Thomas dissenting.

Mike Johnson has also voted against “codifying” same-sex “marriage,” aid for Ukraine, and the Continuing Resolution. The passage of that Resolution occasioned the Motion to Vacate the Chair by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.).

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) did introduce a bill to ban abortions nationwide – after fifteen weeks. That cannot be a total or near-total ban, because such a ban would forbid abortion after six weeks, or sooner. Graham introduced the bill in September of 2022. Many conservatives insist Graham did that to “spook” the “abortion constituency” into voting Democratic at Midterms.

Life and faith

Mike Johnson looks much younger than his 51 years. Before he was a politician, he was a constitutional lawyer – with Alliance Defending Freedom. He has advocated for covenant marriage, now legal in Louisiana, Arizona, and Arkansas. Covenant marriages allow for divorce only on the fault grounds of adultery, felony conviction, drug or alcohol abuse, spousal or child abuse, or after minimum separation (one or two years.)

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His most controversial proposal in the Louisiana House of Representatives was the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act of 2015. That law would have forbidden any adverse treatment on the basis of opinions on same-sex marriage. A committee of the Louisiana House tabled that bill. Ironically, it might now be effective nationwide, at least in part. 303 Creative v. Elenis, 600 U.S. 570, 2023.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus have always looked favorably on him. In fact, he almost became Speaker back in January.

How he managed to get the votes of his entire caucus is not immediately clear. But according to Axios, he won his seat by the largest margin in decades. So perhaps he used some “campaign magic” on the Establishmentarians who voted against Jordan three times. J. D. Rucker calls him “the least ‘Swampy’ Speaker of the House in decades.” Rucker expressed skepticism – after all, the Swamp is deep and full of quicksand. His first test will be to get regular-order appropriations bills passed, instead of “continuing resolutions.” Can he do this in 22 days? We shall see.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

CATEGORY:Constitution
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