Republicans have selected a House Speaker they can live with.
After Republicans ousted Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House, they seemed unable to come to any agreement on his replacement. Now, after long, hard weeks of infighting, gaveling out after a single vote, and backroom battles, they’ve agreed on Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), a man who will support the most extreme-right MAGA agendas.
Johnson is known for his hard line against reproductive healthcare access, including a boast last year that any doctor in his state caught providing abortion care would be “imprisoned at hard labor for 1-10 yrs & fined $10K-$100K.”
He’s also known for his attempts to help Donald Trump overturn the 2020 election, gathering his fellow Republicans in Congress into an amicus brief to plead with the Supreme Court to nullify Joe Biden’s wins in several states.
His fellow Republicans have already come to his defense on this.
Even the Republican who said he would not support Jim Jordan because of his insurrectionist tendencies (he led the charge in the House of Representatives to reject electoral votes for Joe Biden, and isn’t coming clean about what he discussed with Trump amidst the attack on the Capitol), Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), came to terms with Johnson’s candidacy.
Buck excused the amicus brief as a totally different thing than Jordan’s version of election denial, saying that Johnson protested in the correct way by going through the court system. The Hill’s Mychael Schnell quotes him:
“The amicus brief is fundamentally different than trying to overturn something on the floor. What he did was he went to the courts. That’s what the courts are set up for. It is absolutely appropriate. I don’t have a problem with writing an amicus brief, it’s the way we should do things in this country is to trust the rule of law & trust our judicial system.”
When pressed, Buck simply affirmed that it’s very important to him to get a Speaker seated.
His party has been struggling with exactly that — while some may prefer the House and government stay shut down, the attack on Israel, coming just after Matt Gaetz brought Congress to a screeching halt, has brought more criticism on a majority that is preventing the U.S. from offering immediate aid.
Other than one absent Member, Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI), who is currently in Israel, according to CBS, every Republican cast their vote for Johnson, showing the most unity they’ve managed since taking the majority.