Mike Johnson, a relatively lesser-known Republican from Louisiana, has taken the elected as the new speaker of the US House of Representatives. He has earned the nickname “MAGA Mike” among his hard-right colleagues, a reference to Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again”, which continues to be associated with Trumpian ideals. Addressing the House after his election, Johnson promised to quickly move forward on conservative priorities, such as support for Israel and border security.
Who is Mike Johnson?
Johnson was elected to the Louisiana statehouse in 2015 and ran for Congress successfully in 2016. He now represents Louisiana’s fourth congressional district. He is the first Louisianan to become speaker and the first southerner to serve as speaker since Republican Newt Gingrich of Georgia in the 1990s. He describes himself as a “Christian, a husband, a father, a life-long conservative, constitutional law attorney and a small business owner”. He has opposed abortion rights and same sex marriage.
Prior to being a Congressman, he was a lawyer specialising in constitutional issues and religious freedom. He successfully defended Louisiana’s same sex marriage ban in 2004. Johnson has drawn on his religious beliefs throughout his work. He is also the former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee.
But it remains to be seen how well Johnson will fare at uniting his fractured party as the House immediately plunges into debates over government spending – or in gaining trust from Democrats who are deeply suspicious of his socially conservative record and support for Trump. The House will have to pass a spending bill by mid-November when the current stopgap measures expire.
About the US House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives, commonly referred to as the House, is one of the two chambers of the United States Congress, the other being the Senate. It plays a crucial role in the legislative process of the United States and is a fundamental component of the country’s federal government. Here’s an overview of the key aspects and functions of the U.S. House of Representatives:
- The House of Representatives is made up of 435 voting members, known as “Representatives.”
- The number of Representatives from each state is apportioned based on the state’s population, as determined by the decennial census. Each state is guaranteed at least one Representative.
- Members of the House are elected for two-year terms, and there are no term limits for Representatives.
The presiding officer of the House is the Speaker of the House, who is elected by the Representatives and is usually a senior member of the majority party.
The Speaker plays a pivotal role in setting the legislative agenda and ensuring the orderly functioning of the House.
3. Role in the Legislative Process:
- The House of Representatives, along with the Senate, is responsible for making federal laws.
- Bills, which can be proposed by any Representative, are introduced and debated in the House. If approved by a majority vote, they proceed to the Senate for consideration.
- The House also has the “power of the purse,” meaning it controls government spending and appropriations.
4. Impeachment Proceedings:
- The House of Representatives has the authority to initiate impeachment proceedings against federal officials, including the President of the United States.
- Impeachment is the first step in the process of removing an official from office. If the House approves articles of impeachment, the case is then tried in the Senate.
5. Oversight and Investigation:
- The House plays a vital role in overseeing the executive branch’s actions and policies.
- It conducts investigations, hearings, and inquiries to ensure transparency and accountability within the government.
6. Representation and Constituency:
- Members of the House represent specific geographic districts within their respective states.
- They are considered the “People’s House” as they are meant to be closer to the concerns and needs of the citizens they represent.
- Much of the legislative work in the House is carried out in committees, each focusing on specific policy areas, such as finance, foreign affairs, or judiciary.
- Committees conduct hearings, review legislation, and make recommendations to the full House.
8. Partisanship and Majority Rule:
- The House of Representatives often experiences political partisanship, with the majority party having a significant influence on the legislative agenda.
- Bills are typically passed by a simple majority vote.
- The U.S. House of Representatives is a fundamental institution of American democracy, with its members serving as the voice of the people in the federal legislative process. It has a critical role in shaping the laws and policies that govern the United States and provides a system of checks and balances within the federal government alongside the Senate and the Executive branch.