Thursday, July 25, 2024

Rep. Mike Johnson is running for House Speaker

by BIZ Magazine

By Greg LaRose, Louisiana Illuminator

The list of U.S. House Republicans interested in becoming speaker grew Saturday when Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson announced he intends to submit his name for the post. At least six other GOP members have said in statements or on social media that they are interested in the job.

A growing field of contenders has assembled after Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio fell short of the 217 votes needed to become speaker three times this week. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Georgia, has also sought the nomination. 

Like Jordan, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana received the House Republican Conference’s nomination for speaker, but Scalise pulled out of the race once it became evident he didn’t have the needed floor votes.   

Johnson has represented Louisiana’s 4th District in the northwestern part of the state since 2016. He is currently vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, one of seven GOP leadership positions in the chamber. Johnson is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and chairs its new Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government.

“Until yesterday, I had never contacted one person about this, and I have never before aspired to the office,” Johnson said in a statement. “However, after much prayer and deliberation, I am stepping forward now. Although I feel a great responsibility for our cause and I have a clear vision and plan for how to lead us through these unprecedented challenges.”

In his announcement, Johnson said President Joe Biden is incapable of leading the country and the U.S. Senate is unwilling. Explaining why he decided to seek the speakership now, he said he “demurred … out of admiration” for McCarthy, Scalise, Jordan and Scott.

“It is incumbent upon us now to decide upon a consensus candidate who can serve as a trusted caretaker and a good steward of the gavel,” Johnson said. “We must govern well, and expand our majority next year.”

In addition to a second bid from Scott, the other House Republicans who’ve said they will seek the speaker’s gavel are Reps. Jack Bergman of Michigan, Byron Donalds of Florida, Tom Emmer of Minnesota. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma and Pete Sessions of Texas.

Johnson supported Scalise and then Jordan when they went before the House Republican Conference for the speaker nomination.

With each floor vote on his nomination, Jordan received the backing of fewer Republicans but seemed insistent on holding more votes before the House GOP Conference met behind closed doors Friday and pulled its support. The conference plans to meet Monday evening for a speaker candidate’s forum.

Legislative actions in the House have been halted since far-right Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, orchestrated a vote to remove McCarthy. In the 18 days since then, lawmakers have been pressed to provide funding for Israel’s war against Hamas, humanitarian aid for Gaza and Ukraine’s defense against a Russian invasion. 

Congress has less than a month before a temporary funding measure expires, potentially leading to a government shutdown.  

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