The US House of Representatives elected Republican Mike Johnson, a conservative with little leadership experience, as its speaker on Wednesday, October 25 after a turbulent three weeks that left the chamber unable to respond to the Middle East crisis or carry out any of its basic duties.
Johnson, 51, was elected after getting 220 to 209 votes elevating him to a speaker’s chair that has been vacant since Kevin McCarthy was ousted on Oct. 3 by a small group of hardline Republicans angry about a deal with Democrats that averted a partial government shutdown.
Republicans narrowly control the House by a 221-212 margin, leaving them with little room for error on controversial votes. Their divisions were on display over the past few weeks, as they nominated three candidates for speaker – Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan and Tom Emmer, but were unable to provide the 217 votes needed to win the speaker’s gavel.
First elected in 2016, Johnson will be the least experienced House speaker in decades. He is best known as the author of an unsuccessful appeal by 126 House Republicans after the 2020 presidential election to get the Supreme Court to overturn election results in states that Trump had lost.
In a letter to colleagues, Johnson has vowed to advance overdue spending legislation and ensure that the U.S. government does not shut down when current funding expires on Nov. 17.
Share this story to friends
He will also have to respond to Democratic President Joe Biden’s $106 billion spending request for aid to Israel, Ukraine and U.S. border security. While his Republicans broadly support funding for Israel and the U.S. border, they are divided over further support for Ukraine.