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Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

Lizze Small Contributing Illustrator
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April 12, 2024

Speaker Mike Johnson shakes up the House

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Percy ’24
Percy ’24 Staff Illustrator

As of Oct. 25, GOP member Mike Johnson was voted in as the newest speaker of the House. The vote came after three other representatives’ unsuccessful campaigns, as well as the removal of the previous speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, who became the first speaker to be removed in U.S. history. 

The speaker of the House is a position within the legislative branch who serves as the leader of the House of Representatives and is third in line for the presidency if the president and vice president are incapacitated. Without a speaker, House legislation and other duties are often delayed, creating greater uncertainty within the government. Before the vote for Speaker Johnson took place, some Marlborough students were worried about the political instability that could have ensued from the House delay.

“The House of Representatives plays a large role in creating legislation, which affects every person in the United States, even us at Marlborough,” Ria ‘26 said. “With uncertainty surrounding the speaker, delay and instability are created within the House, which spreads to other parts of American life.” 

Prior to Johnson being voted in, McCarthy, a GOP representative, was elected speaker of the House in January 2023. However, his successful election took 15 different ballot votes and settlements with opposed Republicans. McCarthy was ousted from the role of speaker when he compromised on a plan with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown that violated his agreement with a group of conservative GOP members. 

Following McCarthy’s removal, three representatives who aimed to become speaker — Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan and Tom Emmer — all failed due to the inability to unify the GOP behind their campaigns. The three failed campaigns led to the current situation, in which Johnson ran and unexpectedly gathered enough votes to become speaker.

Johnson is a representative from Louisiana who was regarded as a low-profile member of the House of Representatives prior to becoming speaker of the House. He also belongs to the more conservative faction of the Republican Party and is a passionate Christian. 

Since being elected as speaker, Johnson has established his positions on issues such as abortion, gun rights and foreign aid. He is a Southern Baptist, and his views generally reflect the more conservative faction of the GOP. 

“‘What does Mike Johnson think about any issue under the sun?’ I said, ‘Well, go pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it.’ That’s my worldview,” Johnson told Fox News when asked about his political stances. 

Among many other policies, Johnson proposed a $14 billion foreign aid plan for Israel, which was approved by the House. This money would be taken out of funding for the Inflation Reduction Act (IRS), and conflicts with President Joe Biden’s proposed $105 billion dollar foreign aid package.

When asked about the political implications of Johnson as speaker, Siena ‘25 spoke on how the recent speaker controversy could affect voter perceptions of the GOP in the upcoming presidential election.

“It is important to note how the drama around finding a speaker of the House reflects on the Republican party,” Siena said. “With an election coming up, presenting a unified front is critical, and the inability to maintain a house speaker has shaken that [front].”

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Paloma '26
Paloma '26, Politics and Media Staff
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