GOP Gets a Populist Speaker of the House

What’s happening: Mike Johnson, a Republican representing Louisiana’s 4th congressional district, was elected as the new House speaker on Wednesday, ending a dramatic, weeks-long standoff within the House GOP. Johnson’s voting record has been much stronger on key conservative issues compared with former Speaker McCarthy’s.

  • Catch up: After a prolonged period of uncertainty following the ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R–Calif.) earlier this month, Johnson emerged as the consensus pick in a closed-door Republican conference vote Tuesday night.

  • A house divided: The anti-McCarthy mutiny represented one of the most stunning victories in recent memory for the populist right, shifting the power dynamics in its cold civil war with the GOP establishment earlier this month.

How he stands on the issues:

  • Ukraine: While Johnson voted for the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act, which kickstarted U.S. military aid to Ukraine in April 2022, he has soured on further funding. Johnson holds an “F” rating from Republicans for his support for Kyiv’s war efforts.

  • Immigration: Speaker Johnson gets a thumbs-up from border and immigration hawks. Known for tough stances and bills aimed at cutting down asylum fraud, the Center for Immigration Studies, a restrictionist advocacy group, calls him a top expert in the field.

  • Big Tech: Earlier this year, Johnson, along with Rep. Jordan and Sen. Rand Paul, introduced a bill that would bar executive branch employees and contractors from censoring First Amendment speech. Johnson has been outspoken on the topic.

  • Social Issues: Speaker Johnson has long been a strong voice for social conservatives. He's backed laws against abortion and gender-focused school curriculums. Earlier this year, he led a hearing on the risks of child sex-change procedures.

What’s next? Johnson has made it clear that "our nation’s greatest ally in the Middle East is under attack” and will focus on passing a bill to support Israel.

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