Mike Johnson elected as US House Speaker

Lower chamber of Congress can now function after electing the Louisiana Republican

US Representative Mike Johnson was the fourth Republican nominee for speaker. AP
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After 23 days of legislative paralysis, Republican infighting and stop-and-start nominations, there is a new US House Speaker.

Mike Johnson, who backed Donald Trump's false claims about the 2020 election, clinched the position on Wednesday after all 220 present Republicans voted for him.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries won 209 votes, all Democrats. The new House Speaker cleared the hurdle in the first round of voting.

With Mr Johnson now wielding the gavel, the House can now open for business, work on legislation relating to Ukraine and Israel, and take steps to fund the government.

Tom Emmer, who was the third nominee, withdrew from consideration on Tuesday night.

“Democracy is messy sometimes, but it is our system,” Mr Johnson said on Tuesday night. “We're going to restore your trust in what we do here.”

He would immediately be thrown into the political fray should he win the election with government funding running out in less than a month and President Joe Biden requesting $105 billion to support Israel and Ukraine.

A letter outlining his agenda for the months ahead include passing Representative Michael McCaul's resolution to condemn Hamas, negotiate with the White House and Senate to pass appropriations bills, and “expand our majority” in the next election cycle.

The agenda made no mention of sending aid to Israel or Ukraine.

Who is Mike Johnson?

Mr Johnson was a Louisiana state representative before being elected to the House in 2016. He is currently serving his fourth term in Congress.

He led an amicus brief of more than 100 House Republicans to support a lawsuit that would challenge the results of the 2020 election in four states that former president Donald Trump lost. He also objected to certifying the election results.

In a letter over the weekend, the Louisiana Republican outlined that restoring trust and “advancing a comprehensive policy agenda” were among his seven priorities should he become House speaker.

“It is our duty to chart a new path, and answer with clarity and conviction who we are, why we are here, and what we are fighting for,” he wrote.

The former conservative radio host is a member of the judiciary and armed services committee, and was formerly the chairman of the Republican Study Committee.

Updated: October 25, 2023, 7:29 PM