Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson
The new speaker of the house AFP

Republican lawmakers elected this Wednesday Donald Trump ally Mike Johnson to be the next House Speaker, thus ending an impasse of more than three weeks following the ouster of Kevin McCarthy and three unfruitful bids to succeed him.

"Democracy is messy sometimes but it is our system," Johnson said late Tuesday after receiving the GOP nomination. "This conference that you see, this House Republican majority, is united."

The election of Johnson, from Louisiana, is seen as a victory for the more conservative wing of the GOP, both economically and culturally. He was elected unanimously and in the first ballot, showing a level of support none of his potential predecessors had.

It is also a victory for former President Trump. "I think he's gonna be a fantastic speaker," Trump said Wednesday at the New York courthouse where he's standing trial for alleged business fraud.

Donald Trump in a New York court
Donald Trump in a New York court during his financial fraud trial in October 2023 AFP

Johnson also received support from Jim Jordan and Steve Scalise, speaker candidates who didn't managed to get the gavel throughout these past weeks. His nomination sparked criticism from Democrats, who recalled his support of Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential elections.

Bloomberg indicated that "Johnson objected to certification of the election results and played a key role in getting signatures for an amicus brief in the long-shot Texas lawsuit that sought to overturn election results in several states."

He will also be the least experienced speaker in more than a century, having never chaired a committee or held a top leadership role.

Congress has been at a standstill and unable to address multiple global crises, as well as the fast-approaching threat of a government shutdown, since McCarthy's historic dismissal in a far-right rebellion on October 3. Neither Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan nor Tom Emmer managed to get the 217 votes necessary to become Speaker. Republicans hold 221 seats in the Lower Chamber, meaning any candidate could only afford to lose four votes to be elected.

Johnson will now play a key role in several pressing issues that have not been addressed during the past weeks. He will preside over a government shutdown in three weeks unless he can cut a 2024 budget deal with the White House that is acceptable to his party.

The House will also have to vote whether to support the $106 billion national security package requested by President Joe Biden to address the wars in Israel and Ukraine, as well as providing military aid to Taiwan and allocating money to deal with the crisis in the southern border.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.