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United States Gets New Speaker of the House

Salt Lake Tribune
Mike Johnson takes the oath to become the speaker of the house.

On October 3rd, 2023, the House of Representatives voted to remove their speaker, Kevin McCarthy, which is a first in the entire history of the House.  Representatives led by Matt Gaetz of Florida, voted McCarthy out, likely to punish him for relying on democratic support to pass a bill preventing a government shutdown, according to The New York Times. Many Republican representatives wanted to use the government shutdown, which would only shut down functions considered nonessential, to urge federal spending cuts. Although opposed by enough representatives to get voted out of his position, New York Times states that he was able to compromise with Democrats and keep the support of most Republicans, which the next speaker may not be able to do. 

After 22 days of uncertainty, Mike Johnson was elected into the position as the first House Speaker from Louisiana. Johnson has less experience than previous speakers, with only seven years in the House, so he is not very well known. However, he is known for arguing in support of former president Donald Trump following the 2020 election. His voting history is mainly conservative. He voted against many bipartisan bills, including the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which would support programs in responding to crimes like domestic violence, stalking, and dating violence, as well as the Infrastructure Act, which would set aside funds for infrastructure including roads, bridges, and public transportation. He has a history of voting against abortion rights as well, including an attempt to shut down an abortion clinic in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, according to NBC. The Washington Post states that Johnson was one of 57 representatives, all of whom were Republicans, who voted against further aid for Ukraine, explaining that our country should not send such a large sum of money when our own border is in chaos and American citizens are facing record-high prices. 

Johnson contributed to the authoring of the Stop the Sexualization of Children Act of 2022, referred to by critics as a “Don’t Say Gay” measure. According to NBC, this bill “prohibits the use of federal funds to develop, implement, facilitate or fund any sexually-oriented program, event, or literature for children under the age of 10.” Johnson also co-sponsored legislation by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene that would make it illegal to provide gender-affirming care to people under 18 years old. 

Former president Trump announced his support for Mike Johnson before the vote determining the new house speaker. Trump stated on social media that he would not endorse Johnson, but he encouraged the House to elect him. The Washington Post explains that Trump and Johnson are allies, and Johnson served on Trump’s legal team during his two impeachment trials. 

The bill passed by McCarthy to avoid a government shutdown extended funding for the nonessential functions until November 17th, so Johnson must navigate the government funding situation carefully to avoid the fate of previous speaker McCarthy. 

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Julia Aguirre
Julia Aguirre, Staff Writer

I’m Julia Aguirre, and I’m a junior here at Barlow. This is my second year writing for the Bruin Banner. Outside of school, I enjoy playing soccer and spending time with my friends and family.

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