Rep. Mike Johnson, a four-term congressman from Louisiana, is the next speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Johnson won a vote on the floor of the House on Wednesday, meaning the House will be able to get back to regular business three weeks after Rep. Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the speakership post.
All 220 Republicans voted in support of Johnson, a rare show of unity after weeks of intraparty chaos. Before Johnson, the GOP nominated three people for speaker — Reps. Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan, and Tom Emmer — and two of those bids flamed out even before a floor vote. Emmer’s nomination lasted just four hours Thursday afternoon before he dropped out.
Every Democrat voted for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., who tallied 209 votes.
After being elected, Johnson said on social media that he “will advance a comprehensive conservative policy agenda, combat the harmful policies of the Biden Administration, and support our allies abroad.” He added: “And we will restore sanity to a government desperately in need of it.”
Johnson, a former Republican Study Committee chair, is now the vice chair of the House Republican Conference.
Johnson managed to find support from both establishment-oriented Republicans and hardliners like Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who led the effort to oust McCarthy.
He’s a close ally of former President Donald Trump, who publicly backed his bid Tuesday and suggested that other Republicans support him.
Johnson played a central role in the effort for lawmakers to reject the Electoral College votes that secured Joe Biden’s win on Jan. 6, 2021, with The New York Times calling him “the most important architect of the Electoral College objections.” He refused to answer a question Tuesday night about 2020, saying “next question” as other Republican members booed at the reporter who asked it.
Democrats also criticized Johnson on Wednesday over his staunch anti-abortion stance; he has a A+ on Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America’s scorecard.
“Mike Johnson, more so than any other member of the House Republican conference, wants to criminalize abortion,” Jeffries said at an event Wednesday morning.
The search for a speaker was made more urgent by the fact that a war broke out in the Middle East days after McCarthy was ousted. Biden has called on Congress to approve aid to Israel, but the House has been unable to vote on legislation without a speaker. Johnson declined to tell reporters on Tuesday where he stands on sending aid to Israel and Ukraine.