The United States House of Representatives elected Republican Mike Johnson, an ally of former President Donald Trump, as its president, ending the paralysis faced by Congress for three weeks due to the lack of agreement to find a replace Kevin McCarthy. This Wednesday, Trump advised Republican congressmen to vote for Johnson, a 51-year-old lawyer specializing in constitutional issues and a representative from Louisiana.
Johnson is the fourth Republican nominated in two weeks after Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan, and Tom Emmer, to replace fellow conservative Kevin McCarthy, who was dismissed on October 3 due to an internal rebellion in his party. “These have been difficult weeks and a reminder that the House is as complex and diverse as the people we represent,” Johnson said in his first reaction after being elected.
The Republicans have a slight majority in the House with 221 seats compared to the Democrats’ 212 seats, forcing them to have the support of almost all of their members in the chamber. Johnson needed 215 endorsements from the 429 lawmakers present and got 220, with no internal opposition, compared to 209 from his opponent, Democratic minority leader Hakeem Jeffries.
The representative from Louisiana, 51, is one of the Republican lawmakers who tried to annul the victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, the year that Trump is still in the White House. On his website he describes himself as a husband and father of four children and a lawyer “who has dedicated his life and career to fighting for fundamental freedoms and traditional values.”
The new “speaker”, an ultra-conservative evangelical Christian, anti-abortion and known for his anti-LGBTQ+ positions, stressed the need for his party to be “strong” to face the current crisis in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Along these lines, US President Joe Biden urged Johnson to “quickly” vote on funds for Israel and Ukraine.
Johnson’s candidacy to lead the House of Representatives was confirmed late Tuesday, after the previous candidate, Tom Emmer, quit hours after being nominated by his party when he realized he did not have the necessary support. “My strong suggestion is to elect the former, Mike Johnson. And do it quickly,” wrote Trump on his Truth Social network.
The presidency of the House of Representatives has been vacant since McCarthy was ousted from office in early October following a motion of no confidence brought by hardliners in his party, who questioned the bill he introduced to continue the temporary government funds. , who was dealing with paralysis.
The House now has until November 17 to agree on a budget if it wants to avoid a partial shutdown of the federal government, which would force hundreds of thousands of workers to temporarily stay at home without pay.