Mike Johnson elected Speaker of the House

Mike Johnson Newly elected Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, speaks in the House chamber after his election at the U.S. Capitol on Oct. 25, 2023, in Washington, D.C. | Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Rep. Mike Johnson, a 51-year-old Louisiana Republican, was elected Speaker of the House on Wednesday afternoon in a 220-209 vote that came as a surprise to many.

After nearly three weeks of tumult in the House of Representatives following the ousting of former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, House Republicans unanimously voted in favor of Johnson taking the gavel.

During his first address as speaker, Johnson, a practicing Christian, stated his belief that all authority is granted by God and that leaders have a responsibility to those they govern.

“The Bible is very clear that God is the one that raises up those in authority,” Johnson said. “I believe that each one of us has a huge responsibility today to use the gifts that God has given us to serve the extraordinary people of this great country and that they deserve it and to ensure that our republic remains standing as the great beacon of light and hope and freedom in a world that desperately needs it.”

Relatively unknown to the public until now, Johnson has represented Shreveport and the western portion of Louisiana since 2017. He is a husband and father of four, a practicing Christian, and a longtime vocal pro-lifer.

What has he done?

Johnson’s voting record earned him an A+ score on the most recent Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America scorecard. He also has a lifetime score of 90% from the conservative advocacy group The Heritage Foundation.

He is a strong believer in American exceptionalism, and during his speech on Wednesday he said: “I genuinely believe in my heart that the best days of America are still ahead.”

During this congressional session, he has served as chair of the Subcommittee on Constitution and Limited Government and as a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.

In July, Johnson strongly condemned a leaked FBI memorandum identifying traditional Catholics as “potential violent extremists” and said that it was a scandal that was causing “the American people to lose faith in the FBI.”

He was a staunch supporter of Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan’s speakership bid and has worked closely with him in the past to introduce pro-free-speech legislation.

He was a vocal supporter of this year’s pro-life amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that banned the military from paying service members’ abortion travel expenses, and he has opposed Democrat efforts to institute a national law allowing abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. He has also sponsored legislation opposing sex-change surgeries and treatments for children as well as legislation strengthening border security.

Johnson has also been a supporter of the House’s impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden.

In a September statement, Johnson said that “based upon the overwhelming facts uncovered by our House committees through our congressional oversight responsibility, I fully support the impeachment inquiry into President Biden.”

“This inquiry will allow us to unearth documents and records that the administration has previously shielded and offer us a larger platform to deliver those facts directly to the American people. Barring declarations of war, impeachment is the most awesome power Congress holds, and we will undertake this great responsibility with a strict fidelity to the truth. It is time to get to work,” he said. 

What will he do?

Johnson said his immediate priorities as speaker will be to help “our dear friend” Israel and to address the migrant and fentanyl crises, the “skyrocketing” cost of living as well as the nation’s “unsustainable” debt, and to rein in federal spending and bring down inflation.

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During his first speech, Johnson quoted renowned Catholic author G.K. Chesterton to say that “America is the only nation in the world that is founded upon a creed,” which he said is “listed with almost theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence.”

Johnson specified that the Declaration of Independence declares that “all men and women are created equal — not born equal, created equal” and that “they’re endowed with the same inalienable rights: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness.”

“That is the creed that animated our founding, that has made us the great nation that we are,” he said, adding that “we’re in a time of extraordinary crisis right now” and “the world needs us to be strong, needs us to remember our creed.”

Johnson concluded his speech by saying: “Let the enemies of freedom around the world hear us loud and clear, the people’s house is back in business.”

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