Mike Johnson Elected House Speaker

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Oct 25, 2023 - 05:58 PM

Update (1400ET): After three failed nominees, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) has been elected the new speaker of the House, after receiving the necessary 217 votes.

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-LA

Johnson, 51, received 220 votes, vs. Democratic nominee Hakeem Jeffries (NY).

Johnson was elected to Congress in 2016, making him the most junior lawmaker in decades to become speaker. He may also be the most conservative. As an evangelical Christian, Johnson is the former chairman of the Republican Study Committee, and has sponsored legislation which effectively bars the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity for those below the age of 10 at any school which receives federal funds.

Johnson also served on former President Trump's impeachment defense team.

In the coming weeks, Johnson faces several challenges - including a mid-November deadline to pass a measure to fund the government and avert a shutdown yet again. He'll also need to navigate the House through the Biden administration's $105 billion funding request for Israel, Ukraine and the southern US border.

Johnson has notably opposed more funding for Ukraine.

Goldman's Alec Phillips has some thoughts on what's next :

1. The House of Representatives elected Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) Speaker today (Oct. 25) with unanimous support among Republican members in attendance. Johnson, a lawyer and former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, was first elected to Congress in 2016 and represents a largely rural district in western Louisiana.

2. The main questions to watch that will inform the odds of a shutdown when the current government funding expires November 17 will be changes to rules on the motion to vacate the chair—which we do not currently expect—and whether Johnson has to make any promises to the Republican Conference that could cause problems passing spending bills down the road.

3. Johnson’s letter to House colleagues sent October 23 proposed an ambitious legislative schedule to begin passing appropriations bills this week. He also signaled an openness to passing another “continuing resolution” (CR), noting that “if another stopgap measure is needed to extend government funding beyond the November 17 deadline, I would propose a measure that expires on January 15 or April 15 [2024] (based on what can obtain Conference consensus), to ensure the Senate cannot jam the House with a Christmas omnibus.”

4. January 1, 2024 is the deadline for Congress to pass all 12 annual appropriations bills to avoid the 1% cuts (or “sequestration”) outlined in the Fiscal Responsibility Act. I.e., if a CR is in effect for any discretionary budget account on or after January 1, the discretionary spending caps set out in the debt limit deal will be revised down 1%. However, the cuts would not kick in until April 30, 2024, so Congress effectively has until April to avoid sequestration. Note that the 1% cut provision does not prevent a shutdown, as it does not actually allow for spending on its own.

5. The election of a speaker does not substantially change our view on a shutdown in Q4. While operating under a temporary speaker created uncertainty, if the November 17 deadline had been reached with only a temporary speaker, the most likely outcome would have been another temporary extension, we think. With a newly elected speaker, it seems likely that House Republicans will press to cut spending by up to $120bn, which will make a longer-term spending deal difficult. Differences over Ukraine funding will also likely complicate spending talks. That said, recent developments in Israel lower the odds of a shutdown in November, all else equal. For now, we view a shutdown in November as a close call but retain a shutdown of up to 2-3 weeks as our base case, reducing GDP growth in Q4 by around 0.5pp and adding the same amount in 2024Q1.

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Update (1313ET): Watch live:

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The House is expected to vote Wednesday on whether to elect Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) as its speaker, after he became the fourth Republican pick for the job since Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted three weeks ago.

On Wednesday, McCarthy threw his support behind Johnson, calling him "a friend, fighter, and principled conservative" who "has my full support."

Yet, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said on CNN that Johnson "appears to be an extreme-right wing ideologue," citing Johnson's previous positions on abortion, Social Security, and the 2020 election.

"Those are extreme views," he said, adding that Democrats "would have been open to" empowering Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (R-NC), the speaker pro tempore, as a bipartisan olive branch to reopen the House and avert the election of a 'far-right speaker.'


Until the GOP gets it act together, the House is effectively frozen from conducting legislative business outside of holding hearings on bills that can't be introduced on the House floor.

This means we're once again gliding into another deadline for a government shutdown - this time slated for Nov. 17. The House also wants to send supplemental assistance to Ukraine, Israel and other foreign countries (oh no!), as well as a myriad of must-pass bills, such as the Farm Bill and reauthorizing the FAA, according to the Washington Post.

What do we know about Johnson?

He was previously defeated on an internal House GOP ballot by Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN), however Emmer withdrew his candidacy last night, just hours after winning the GOP nomination for the role.

Johnson then emerged during the next round of Tuesday night votes.

He's also "one of the smartest and most principled opponents of the US Security State (CIA/FBI) and its attempt to control online political speech," according to Glenn Greenwald.

As Axios notes;

Johnson, 51, has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2016, and is currently serving his fourth term in the House.

  • He represents Louisiana's fourth congressional district, which includes nearly 760,000 residents. Johnson won the seat with the largest margin of victory in his region in more than 50 years, according to a biography on his website.

Of note: After earning both a bachelor's degree and a law degree from Louisiana State University, Johnson spent nearly 20 years practicing constitutional law.

  • Johnson then served in the Louisiana Legislature from February 2015 to January 2017.
  • He and his wife, Kelly Johnson, have been married since 1999 and have four children.

Johnson is currently serving as vice chair of the House Republican Conference for a second time, after a unanimous re-election last year. 

In a weekend letter to colleagues, Johnson said it's the duty of House Republicans to "chart a new path," and that he has a "clear vision and plan for how to lead."

Now if he can just get the job!