Meet Mike Johnson, US House Speaker & DC's most Googled person
Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, DC, shares his perspective on US politics.
Who is Mike Johnson?
Mike Johnson became the most commonly Googled person in Washington, DC, this week when he won a surprising bid for the House speakership after Republicans failed to rally around multiple nominations from across their caucus once they removed former speaker Kevin McCarthy from his seat several weeks ago.
Johnson is a fourth-term congressman from Louisiana who is somewhere in the middle of the Republican conference, If you look at his voting record and ideological positions. He's got a lot of attention from the media for his role, both in trying to overturn the 2020 election results and also some of his comments on Social Security, Medicare, and abortion. But this is really a mainstream Republican House member who is going to struggle in his new role as speaker, having no leadership experience or any experience in passing bills whatsoever.
That lack of experience will be tested almost immediately with the upcoming November 17th government shutdown deadline and a bipartisan push to provide up to $106 billion in additional aid for Taiwan, Ukraine, and Israel, and, of course, securing the southern border. That package probably would pass the House and Senate overwhelmingly once it comes together out of the Senate. But Johnson himself is trying to leverage his role as speaker, along with his fellow conservatives, to get cuts and appropriate spending starting in 2024.
And that's going to be the big story of early next year, because what's likely to happen is that Johnson will punt government funding and take the threat of a government shutdown off the table into January or maybe even April. And make the rest of this year, this fight about foreign aid.