Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), a fourth-term conservative who is currently the vice chairman of the House GOP conference, has the Speaker’s gavel within reach and seems to be on the brink of ascending into the presidential line of succession on Wednesday afternoon.
When the House gavels in at noon, it is certainly possible that Johnson–a former conservative talk radio host and columnist who has been active in the religious liberty world of the American right–emerges as the 56th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Johnson on Tuesday evening became the House Republicans’ Speaker-designate, after a multi-ballot vote that came immediately after House Majority Whip Tom Emmer’s candidacy fizzled slightly more than four hours after he won the same position. But something interesting happened for Johnson after he won the internal election following several rounds of voting: On a roll call vote in conference behind closed doors, not a single member voted against him–and only a handful voted present. One of those present votes in conference, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), now says he will back Johnson on the floor on Wednesday. But there were close to 20 absences, many of whom are expected to back Johnson on the floor, so it is as of yet uncertain.
For Johnson to win the Speakership, assuming all members of both parties are present and vote for a person, he would need 217 votes since there are two vacancies in the House right now. There are 221 voting Republicans, which means Johnson could only afford to lose four members. Since there are 212 voting Democrats, if Republicans have any present votes Johnson would need to put up at least 213 votes and depending on the vote math not have anyone voting against him, or very few.
It’s been a wild ride for House Republicans since former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted from his position more than three weeks ago now. In the immediate aftermath of McCarthy’s ouster, House Republicans first elevated Johnson’s fellow Louisianan the House Majority Leader Steve Scalise as the Speaker-designate. Scalise’s candidacy failed, and he never even went to the floor. After Scalise, Republicans turned to House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who tried three separate floor votes during the week in which he was Speaker-designate, but a total of 25 intransigents blocked him from getting the gavel. After that, the House GOP turned to Emmer, who like Scalise never went to the floor but unlike Scalise and Jordan held an in-conference roll call vote away from the prying public eyes. The opposition to Emmer was deeper than it was for Jordan, with 26 stalwarts against him–a number that exploded in growth after former President Donald Trump, the 2024 GOP frontrunner for president, stabbed him with a dagger of a post on Truth Social knifing any shot Emmer had of getting the job. The damage was done and Emmer withdrew his candidacy moments later.
After that, it seemed hopeless for House Republicans and some were even floating some kind of a McCarthy comeback with Jordan as “assistant Speaker.” But as those discussions were turning from whispers into a possibility, Johnson quietly amassed mass support from all corners of the House GOP conference and posted an impressive roll call vote that saw zero GOP defectors despite a handful of present votes and a dozen or so absences. Whether Johnson can lock down the full support to win the gavel on Wednesday is anyone’s guess, but the latest efforts on the House floor will commence shortly after noon. It’s possible too it could go more than one ballot if any allies of Jordan, Scalise, McCarthy, or Emmer aim to protest on a first ballot.
If Johnson does take the gavel, he would face a number of immediate and pressing crises as Speaker of the House. First and foremost, government funding runs dry again three weeks from Friday on November 17–and Johnson would have a ticking clock from the second he takes over. Secondly, Democrat President Joe Biden is pushing an emergency aid package for Ukraine and Israel–tying the two together–and how a Speaker Johnson would handle that would be a major first test. Thirdly, before his ouster, McCarthy formally launched an impeachment inquiry into Biden’s corruption–and how a Speaker Johnson handles that would be a major test as well. Fourthly, and more broadly, House Republicans are angry, tired, weary, and worn-down from this internal strife. Johnson, who is not known as a prolific fundraiser, would need to figure out a way to marshal resources to begin to build a political operation to protect and possibly expand the House GOP’s slim majority as Republicans face a host of challenges nationwide from redistricting court challenges to strong Democrat candidates to recruiting issues for the GOP. How Johnson moves to unite this band of deeply divided Republicans will be a story worth tracking closely.
What’s more, since Scalise is also from Louisiana, there may be a push to get a new majority leader from a different state. Johnson’s handling of that after all this infighting will be critical. Emmer may face a push to be removed as well, given how poorly his speakership candidacy fared. Louisiana’s influence and stature among Republicans is quickly on the rise as the bayou has now emerged as the next possible Speaker of the House as well as the House Majority Leader are from there, a development that follows the shock election victory of Governor-Elect Jeff Landry, who surprised everyone by flipping the governor’s mansion in Baton Rouge from Democrat to Republican control without a runoff earlier this month.
But first Johnson has to win the gavel. The House comes in at noon eastern on Wednesday to consider his speakership bid. Follow along here for live updates as Breitbart News will be tracking the election closely.
UPDATE 2:52 p.m. ET:
Johnson is officially the 56th Speaker of the House, and the House adopted resolutions formally notifying the Senate and the President of the United States of his election.
UPDATE 2:44 p.m. ET:
Johnson concludes with a message to America’s enemies, saying “the people’s House is back in business.” He also says he firmly believes America’s “best days” are ahead. Now, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), the dean of the House, is administering Johnson’s oath of office.
UPDATE 2:41 p.m. ET:
Johnson says he will focus on “decentralizing” power out of the Speaker’s office back to the members.
UPDATE 2:39 p.m. ET:
Johnson says he will immediately establish a bipartisan debt commission to tackle the national debt.
UPDATE 2:38 p.m. ET:
Republicans give Johnson a standing ovation as he implores Congress to come together and address the porous southern border. Democrats sat quietly by.
UPDATE 2:36 p.m. ET:
Johnson says the first bill he will bring to the floor, on Wednesday afternoon, will be to support Israel.
UPDATE 2:34 p.m. ET:
Speaker Johnson is speaking about how he believes God’s plan has brought each of those in the chamber to the place they are today. His deep religious ties are huge part of his identity. He also told a story about being there as a freshman and having an emotional moment when he saw a statue of Moses in the Chamber.
UPDATE 2:29 p.m. ET:
“The challenge before us is great, and the time for action is now–I will not let you down,” Johnson tells the House.
UPDATE 2:28 p.m. ET:
Johnson thanks the House staff, then thanks his wife and notes she couldn’t make it to Washington in time. “This happened sort of suddenly,” Johnson said, to laughter from the chamber.
UPDATE 2:26 p.m. ET:
Johnson is speaking now. He begins by addressing Jeffries and notes they have “very different points of view” but hopes they will find “common ground.”
He also thanks “Our Speaker Emeritus, Kevin McCarthy.”
UPDATE 2:24 p.m. ET:
In his rambling rant, Jeffries even went so far as to compare Jan. 6, 2021, to Sept. 11, 2001, and Pearl Harbor. Absolutely amazing that he gets away with this.
UPDATE 2:13 p.m. ET:
House Democrat leader Hakeem Jeffries, who lost the election for Speaker, is now bashing House Republicans and praising House Democrats as he gives a speech congratulating Speaker Johnson on his victory.
UPDATE 1:58 p.m. ET:
Praise for Speaker Johnson is pouring in from across the party. Republican National Committee (RNC) chairwoman Ronna McDaniel issued a statement calling for Republicans to now unite heading into a critical 2024 election.
“Congratulations to the new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson! In eight months, the Republican House Majority passed bills to lower energy costs, secure the border, defend parents’ rights, improve public safety, and more,” McDaniel said. “When Republicans come together, we deliver results, and that’s what we need to showcase ahead of 2024. We delivered this Majority to bring solutions to the American people. It’s time for Republicans to unite behind Speaker Johnson and get back to work.”
UPDATE 1:55 p.m. ET:
McHenry announces the vote totals and that Johnson has been “duly elected as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives for the 118th Congress.”
UPDATE 1:53 p.m. ET:
Johnson’s unanimous support among Republicans is the first time since Jan. 5, 2011, when John Boehner was first elected Speaker of the House–more than a decade ago–that a Republican Speaker was elected unanimously among his party. This is a huge moment for Speaker Johnson.
UPDATE 1:50 p.m. ET:
Republican Mike Johnson of Louisiana has been elected as the 56th Speaker of the House. He has had zero defections and complete GOP unity behind him. Johnson got 220 votes, whereas Jeffries only got 208 votes.
UPDATE 1:48 p.m. ET:
Johnson has crossed the threshold he needed to win the Speakership as Rep. Brandon Williams (R-NY) cast the 215th vote for him. Johnson will be the 56th Speaker of the House.
UPDATE 1:44 p.m. ET:
Into the T’s now and Johnson still has unanimous GOP support. He has more than 200 votes and is closing in on the magic number he needs to win the gavel.
UPDATE 1:40 p.m. ET:
Scalise gets applause from Republicans as he votes for his fellow Louisianan Johnson.
UPDATE 1:36 p.m. ET:
Democrats cheer former Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she votes for Jeffries.
UPDATE 1:34 p.m. ET:
McCarthy gets loud applause as he votes for Johnson. Johnson turns around and shakes his predecessor’s hand.
UPDATE 1:27 p.m. ET:
Loud GOP applause when Johnson votes for himself. Similarly loud applause when Jordan votes for Johnson. Into the K’s now and still unanimous GOP support for Johnson. It appears he is on the path to getting elected Speaker of the House.
UPDATE 1:25 p.m. ET:
Democrats applaud Jeffries when he votes for himself.
UPDATE 1:17 p.m. ET:
Democrat Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) yelled about how it is the wedding anniversary for her and her wife, to which Democrats cheered, as she voted for Jeffries. It was a not-so-veiled shot at Johnson, who has voted against gay marriage proposals in the past. Into the D’s now in the alphabet, though, and Johnson thus far has unanimous GOP support so far.
UPDATE 1:11 p.m. ET:
Into the C’s in the alphabet now and Johnson still has unanimous support and no defections among Republicans. He might just do this on the first ballot.
UPDATE 1:07 p.m. ET:
The roll call vote is beginning now. Zero defections so far for Johnson.
UPDATE 1:03 p.m. ET:
Aguilar attacks Republicans and says that this process has been about “who can appease Donald Trump.” Republicans are much feistier with shouting back at him than they have been in past votes. Democrats rose up to try to cheer for Aguilar to drown out GOP boos.
UPDATE 1:00 p.m. ET:
Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) rises to nominate House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries for Speaker. He jokes that there is more of a smile on McHenry’s face than other days, a reference to how everyone knows that Johnson seems prepared to lock it down today.
UPDATE 12:58 p.m. ET:
Democrats are booing and attempting to interrupt Stefanik as she lays out a devastating policy critique against them and Democrat President Joe Biden. She even cites weaponization of the government by Biden against Biden’s “top political opponent,” a reference to former President Donald Trump.
UPDATE 12:56 p.m. ET:
Stefanik is quoting scripture, and Republicans keep giving Johnson standing ovations. She is also talking about Johnson’s history in the conservative movement and his background in Congress. “A friend to all and an enemy to none, Mike is strong, tough, and fair–and above all, Mike is kind,” Stefanik says.
UPDATE 12:53 p.m. ET:
House GOP conference chairwoman Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) is rising to nominate Johnson as Speaker of the House now. Republicans are cheering loudly, and chanting “Mike! Mike! Mike!”
UPDATE 12:51 p.m. ET:
A total of 429 members are present. One Republican is absent and three Democrats are. That means Johnson needs 215 votes to win.
UPDATE 12:50 p.m. ET:
Here is video of Johnson after he won the conference backing on Tuesday night. The guy is definitely a class act and could possibly bring this unruly team together:
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 25, 2023
UPDATE 12:48 p.m. ET:
Johnson will probably get a lot of leeway, at least at first, from conservatives as he aims to get moving:
Freedom Caucus members indicating they are going to treat a Speaker Johnson differently than McCarthy. For one, give him more leeway on spending.
Scott Perry says don’t blame “the backup quarterback” for problems created before him. Roy says could be “significant” support for CR pic.twitter.com/F0Dr2YYnP6
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 25, 2023
UPDATE 12:27 p.m. ET:
Due to absences and vacancies, Johnson may only need 215 votes to win.
That would make 220 Rs, 210 Ds. Johnson’s number is 216 if all of them vote
— John Bresnahan (@bresreports) October 25, 2023
/3 That would make Johnson’s number 215
— John Bresnahan (@bresreports) October 25, 2023
UPDATE 12:24 p.m. ET:
A spokesperson for Rep. John Rose (R-TN), who was out on Tuesday due to a funeral, is back and will be supporting Johnson on the floor, Breitbart News’s Capitol Hill reporter Bradley Jaye reports.
UPDATE 12:16 p.m. ET:
Johnson is predicting he will win on the first vote:
Mike Johnson told @AnnieGrayerCNN that he will win “on the first vote.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 25, 2023
UPDATE 12:11 p.m. ET:
Soon-to-be-former Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), a carpetbagger who was the governor of Massachusetts before he moved to Utah to run for U.S. Senate after his failed 2012 presidential campaign, attacked Johnson in a statement. Romney is not running for reelection, and is about to fade off into complete irrelevance, and as a sign of his waning influence it appears basically nobody cares what Romney thinks about this:
Romney on House speaker nominee Mike Johnson:
“Apparently experience isn’t necessary for the speaker job”
“We’re down to folks who haven’t had leadership or chairmanship role which means their administration of the House will be a new experience for them.”
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) October 25, 2023
But nonetheless, there it is. Romney’s take, ladies and gentlemen.
UPDATE 12:08 p.m. ET:
Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) says he will support Johnson–a big pickup for Johnson.
Rep. Garbarino in new stmt says Johnson “has my support for Speaker.” And that they talked about “critical issues facing Long Island,” and he understands “how essential flood insurance and disaster relief is to coastal communities like Long Island” bc Louisiana faces same issues
— Olivia Beavers (@Olivia_Beavers) October 25, 2023
UPDATE 12:06 p.m. ET:
The first vote happening now is the quorum call vote to determine who is there in the House today. Then, the speakership election will begin.
UPDATE 12:05 p.m. ET:
The House is now gaveled in, as Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry brought the House to order–and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy is in the Speaker’s chair about to oversee things as the House chaplain is leading the prayer.
UPDATE 12:02 p.m. ET:
The other two Republicans besides Massie–Reps. French Hill (R-AR) and Mark Amodei (R-NV)–who voted present in the roll call vote in conference on Tuesday evening have now said they will vote for him on the floor:
— Olivia Beavers (@Olivia_Beavers) October 25, 2023
UPDATE 12:00 p.m. ET:
Johnson could be the first Republican Speakership candidate to unanimously win on the House floor since former Speaker John Boehner did way back in January 2011:
greetings from the House chamber — it’s cold again! — for the vote on @MikeJohnson‘s candidacy for speaker.
johnson is expected to win this, ending the 22-day paralysis of the House.
the last time a Republican speaker was elected unanimously was @SpeakerBoehner on Jan. 5,…
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) October 25, 2023
If it happens, and it’s so sure thing, it would be a remarkable turn of events after the past more than decade of internal infighting and could signal a unified GOP front heading into next year’s election.
Originally Posted at : www.breitbart.com