Mike Johnson Becomes Fourth Republican to be Nominated for US House Speaker This Month

Mike Johnson Becomes Fourth Republican to be Nominated for US House Speaker This Month – On Tuesday, Mike Johnson received a nomination to lead the US House of Representatives. However, it remained uncertain whether he would be the next casualty of the ongoing party infighting that has gripped Congress for over three weeks. Hailing from Louisiana, Johnson became the fourth Republican this month to secure the party’s nomination for the position of Speaker.

This is a role left vacant since a group of party dissidents removed Kevin McCarthy on October 3. This Republican disarray has hindered lawmakers’ ability to address the situations in the Middle East and Ukraine, as well as take preventive measures to avoid a partial government shutdown scheduled for November 18 if Congress fails to act.

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The uncertainty remained regarding Johnson’s ability to navigate the internal divisions that had hindered three prior candidates who had received the party’s nomination. As an indication of these divisions, the candidate who came in second place during the nomination vote was Kevin McCarthy, despite not officially declaring his candidacy, he managed to secure 43 votes.

Tom Emmer, who holds the No. 3 position among House Republicans, secured the nomination earlier in the day but later withdrew due to resistance from the party’s conservative wing. Much like Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan before him, Emmer’s chances were dashed by a relatively small group of dissenters who prevented him from reaching the required 217 votes. 

The demanding threshold, combined with the party’s slim 221-212 majority, means that any candidate can only afford to lose four votes if Democrats maintain a united front in opposition. “We have no capacity at the moment to come to a verdict, and that is a very distressing place to be,” congressman Marc Molinaro said. 

Mike Johnson, an attorney specializing in conservative constitutional law, has presented himself as a unifying figure capable of bridging the gaps among different Republican factions.He hails from the north-west Louisiana district, known to be one of the most economically disadvantaged areas in the United States. 

“He knows everybody very well, does a great job with bringing people to the floor, talking about our policies, and that’s what we need right now,” said Kevin Hern, who withdrew his own bid to support Johnson. Johnson emerged as the victor in the recent Republican speaker nomination contest, surpassing Byron Donalds, Mark Green, Roger Williams, and Chuck Fleischmann. 

A total of 14 Republicans have entered the race for the speaker’s position this month. Emmer decided to withdraw from the race following a call from Donald Trump to oppose his candidacy. Emmer’s vote to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 victory over Trump, in contrast to many within his party, came after the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack by Trump supporters. 

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Earlier this month, Trump endorsed Jordan’s campaign for the speakership, but Republicans abandoned this effort last week when Jordan faced three consecutive floor vote defeats. Prior to that, the second-ranking House Republican, Steve Scalise, abandoned his own campaign when he failed to secure sufficient votes for the position.

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Democrats have expressed their willingness to consider a compromise candidate who could facilitate the functioning of the chamber. However, many Republicans have firmly maintained their stance against supporting a candidate who has the backing of the opposing party.

Hakeem Jeffries, a prominent House Democrat, emphasized the need for a bipartisan approach to reopen the House through a social media statement. The resulting uncertainty has also contributed to the increase in the borrowing costs of the U.S. government, with a record $1.7 trillion deficit reported in the most recent fiscal year, partially attributed to higher interest payments.

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