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Republicans Pick a Bible-Believing House Speaker - Here's Who It Is

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks after he was chosen as the Republicans latest nominee for House speaker at a Republican caucus meeting at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Republicans have finally elected the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana is an Evangelical Christian who is being described as a staunch conservative, and he's clearly got the support of the majority of Republicans.

The big moment came Wednesday afternoon after 22 days, multiple contenders, four official nominees, and rounds of frustrating votes for the GOP House majority.

With Republicans controlling the House only 221-212 over Democrats, Johnson could afford just a few detractors to win the gavel. He won 220-209, with a few absences.

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Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) called Johnson "a man of deep faith and principle who knows how to get things done."

Before the vote, supporters posted on the social site X about what they see as positive aspects of Johnson's past, like the time he grilled FBI Director Chris Wray on Big Tech censoring conservatives on social media. 

In the past, Johnson also expressed his serious concern about the southern U.S. border and other issues that many Republicans agree upon.

"Here in the House, Mike's experience as Vice Chairman of the Republican Conference shows that he has what it takes to unite House Republicans so we can continue our work in passing individual, single-subject appropriations bills that rein in wasteful government spending and our work to secure the southern border," Rep. Smith said.

A lower-ranked member of the House GOP leadership team, Johnson emerged as the fourth Republican nominee in what had become a cycle of political infighting since Kevin McCarthy's ouster.

When GOP Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik rose to introduce Johnson's name Wednesday as their nominee, Republicans jumped to their feet for an extended standing ovation.

"House Republicans and Speaker Mike Johnson will never give up," she said.

During the voting, Democrats had again tried to nominate their leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York to be Speaker, claiming Johnson supported Trump's legal battle in the confusion that followed the 2020 presidential election.

While not the Republican Party's initial top choice for the gavel, the deeply religious and even-keeled Johnson has few foes and an important GOP backer: Donald Trump.

"I think he's gonna be a fantastic speaker," Trump said Wednesday at the New York courthouse where the former president, who is the current Republican front-runner for president in 2024, is on trial over a lawsuit alleging business fraud.

Trump said he hadn't heard "one negative comment about him. Everybody likes him."

In his first address to the entire House as Speaker on Wednesday, Johnson said, "I want to tell all of my colleagues here what I told my fellow Republicans in that room last night. I don't believe there are any coincidences in a matter like this. I believe that scripture, the Bible is very clear. That God raises up those in authority. He raised up each of you. All of us. And I believe that God has ordained and allowed each one of us to be brought here at this specific moment in this time. This is my belief."

"I believe that each one of us has a huge responsibility today to use the gifts that God has given us to serve the extraordinary people of this great country and they deserve it," the new speaker continued. "And to ensure that our Republic remains standing as the great beacon of light and hope and freedom in a world that desperately needs it."

Speaker Johnson has his work cut out for him. The federal government risks a shutdown in a matter of weeks if Congress fails to pass funding legislation by a Nov. 17 deadline to keep services and offices running. 

More immediately, President Biden has asked Congress to provide $105 billion in aid — to help Israel and Ukraine amid their wars and to shore up the U.S. border with Mexico.

Federal aviation and farming programs also face expiration without legislative action.


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