Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana was on Wednesday elected as the 56th speaker of the House of Representatives in the United States, ending three weeks of chaos that left the chamber without a leader after the removal of Kevin McCarthy from office.
Republicans elevated Mr. Johnson, 51, and a deeply conservative lawmaker, after a tumultuous fight.
Johnson swept through on the first ballot with support from all Republicans anxious to put the past weeks of tumult behind and get on with the business of governing.
He was quickly sworn into office, second in line to the presidency.
“The people’s House is back in business,” Johnson declared after taking the gavel.
A lower-ranked member of the House GOP leadership team, Johnson emerged as the fourth Republican nominee in what had become an almost absurd cycle of political infighting since Kevin McCarthy’s ouster
While not the party’s top choice for the gavel, the deeply religious and even-keeled Johnson has few foes and an important GOP backer: Donald Trump.
“I think he’s gonna be a fantastic speaker,” Trump said Wednesday at the New York courthouse where the former president, who is now the Republican front-runner for president in 2024, is on trial over a lawsuit alleging business fraud.
President Joe Biden congratulated the new speaker and said it’s “time for all of us to act responsibly” with challenges ahead to fund the government and provide aid for Ukraine and Israel.
“We need to move swiftly,” the president said.
In the House, far-right members had refused to accept a more traditional speaker, and moderate conservatives didn’t want a hard-liner. While Johnson had no opponents during a private party roll call late Tuesday, some two dozen Republicans did not vote, more than enough to sink his nomination.
Democrats again nominated their leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, criticizing Johnson as an architect of Trump’s legal effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election he lost to Democrat Biden.
With Republicans controlling the House only 221-212 over Democrats, Johnson could afford just a few detractors to win the gavel. He won 220-209, with a few absences.
Jeffries said House Democrats will find “common ground” work with Republicans whenever possible for the “good of the country.”