WASHINGTON – After three weeks with no Home speaker, Republicans in the decrease chamber got here collectively Wednesday to elect Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., to the high spot.
Johnson, who served as the vice chair of the Republican convention and was first elected to Congress in 2016, succeeds former Home Speaker , R-Calif. McCarthy was ousted earlier this month by a handful of hardline Republicans after he compromised with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown.
As Johnson settles into the speakership, his first full day on the job received’t be simple.
He must unite lawmakers to keep away from a authorities shutdown set for mid-November, handle wars in Ukraine and Israel and produce collectively Republican lawmakers who’ve been embroiled in infighting since the begin of McCarthy’s reign as speaker.
“I need to say to the American individuals, on behalf of all of us right here, we hear you,” Johnson mentioned after he was elected speaker. “We all know the challenges you’re dealing with. We all know that there’s so much happening in our nation, domestically and overseas, and we are able to get to work once more to unravel these issues.”
Here’s a better have a look at the challenges Johnson faces as the new speaker.
Avoiding a authorities shutdown
Chief amongst the challenges Johnson faces is avoiding a authorities shutdown set to begin Nov. 17 that might influence thousands and thousands of People’ lives.
A shutdown means a whole bunch of hundreds of federal employees could be furloughed and low-income households might lose entry to Head Begin preschool packages or see delays in diet help.
To avert such a disaster, the Home and Senate should go 12 appropriations payments to maintain the authorities’s doorways open. Earlier than the earlier Oct. 1 shutdown deadline, each chambers solely handed a couple of appropriations payments.
“McCarthy had problem getting Republican votes for an appropriations invoice that might go the Home. If Johnson cannot get sufficient Republican votes, he’ll want Democratic votes – which implies concessions,” mentioned David Bateman, a professor of coverage and authorities at Cornell College.
“However even when he will get a Republican-only invoice by way of, that is not more likely to go the Senate or be acceptable to the president. At the finish of the day, Johnson might want to go a invoice that Democrats – in the White Home or Senate, at the very least – can assist,” Bateman defined. “If not, there might be a shutdown.”
In a letter to his GOP colleagues, Johnson laid out a plan to at the very least dodge a shutdown. It included a timeline for the remainder of the spending payments and a possible stopgap measure that might briefly fund the authorities till both Jan. 15 or April 15.
“McCarthy was in a position to get a unbroken decision, but it cost him the speakership,” Mark Harkins, a senior fellow at the Authorities Affair Institute at Georgetown College, advised USA TODAY. “It’s unclear to me if the dynamic that compelled that situation has modified.”
Offering help to Ukraine, Israel
One other problem Johnson faces is how he’ll garner assist for (*3*) request to Congress for funding to assist Israel in its struggle in opposition to Hamas and to assist Ukraine in opposition to Russia’s invasion.
“American taxpayers have despatched over $100 billion in help to Ukraine in the final yr,” Johnson said in a post on X, previously often called Twitter, in February. “They should know if the Ukrainian authorities is being fully forthcoming and clear about the use of this huge sum of taxpayer sources.”
However Democrats in the Home have held a tough stance on supporting Ukraine. Passing these help packages “would require compromise on the a part of all events,” Harkins mentioned.
“Johnson has a troublesome needle to string to achieve lodging with Democrats in the Senate and White Home whereas not dropping a governing majority in the Home,” he added. “The stress to not fund Ukraine from a section of Home Republicans might be intense. However that can fly in the face of a majority of members of the Home which need the funding accepted.”
A staunch supporter of Donald Trump, Johnson may additionally face stress from the former president, who has criticized Ukraine efforts.
Nevertheless, Johnson has stood for supporting Israel. After Biden’s Oval Office address to the nation final week calling for assist for Israel and Ukraine, the Louisiana Republican acknowledged his speech on X.
“@JoeBiden‘s handle to the nation tonight solely confirms the pressing want for the U.S. to behave in assist of our nice ally, Israel, as they battle in opposition to Hamas terrorists,” he wrote. “We should elect a Speaker so the Home can take all mandatory motion to finish Hamas ceaselessly.”
Uniting Republicans and Democrats
Tensions between reasonable and hardline conservatives in the Republican Occasion proceed to develop, as captured by eight Republicans selecting to oust McCarthy and the a number of rounds of voting that passed off after to get a new nominee elected to the speakership.
“The query is just not if, however when a section of the Republican caucus turns in opposition to him. Speaker McCarthy was able to get a debt limit deal by way of,” Harkins mentioned. “However when he went again to the nicely and tried to maintain the authorities open, that ended his speakership. Democrats could also be prepared to assist, however their worth could also be steeper than speaker Johnson is prepared to pay.”
The Home isn’t identified for being a bipartisan establishment, he famous, and he doesn’t count on Johnson to alter that.
“He’s considered one of, if not the most conservative speaker we have now had in a very long time. Whereas that acquired him into the speaker’s chair, it won’t make it simple for him to achieve throughout the aisle to seek out compromise options,” he mentioned. “The Home Republican Convention didn’t choose Speaker Johnson to work with Democrats. They chose him to battle to the finish for conservative points.”
Dave Rausch, professor of political science at West Texas A&M College, agreed. With Johnson’s historical past together with voting in opposition to certifying the 2020 election and opposing same-sex marriage, Rausch mentioned he doesn’t know “what number of Democrats could be prepared to signal on.”
“Johnson’s most likely strolling the most publicized tightrope of anybody, as a result of he has to work with Democrats on one thing, however he cannot work with Democrats an excessive amount of as a result of he has that Republican group – that small group – and now a number of them type of assume like him.”
This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: Israel aid, government shutdown: 3 challenges for new House speaker