Mike Johnson elected House speaker with unanimous GOP support, ending weeks of chaos

Date:

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries hands the gavel to newly elected Speaker of the House Mike Johnson on Oct. 25, 2023.

Chip Somodevilla/.


Johnson returned to the House to applause from those in the chamber, and McHenry called the House back into order.

The Democratic leader then took his place at the dais and delivered a speech cheering the work of House Democrats so far this Congress, while decrying the dysfunction that gripped the House over the last three weeks.

“From the very beginning of this Congress, House Democrats have made clear that we will find bipartisan common ground with our Republican colleagues wherever and whenever possible for the good of the American people, and House Democrats have repeatedly done just that,” Jeffries said.

He noted that Democrats provided support for legislation to raise the debt ceiling, avoid a government shutdown and provide disaster relief funding.

“From the very beginning of this Congress, House Democrats have been governing for the people,” Jeffries said. “We continue to look forward to finding bipartisan common ground whenever and wherever possible.”

The New York Democrat pledged his party will back Mr. Biden as he works to free hostages held by Hamas.

“Our commitment to Israel’s security is ironclad and Israel has a right to defend itself under the international rules of war against the brutal terror unleashed on its citizens by Hamas,” Jeffries said.

The Democratic leader also vowed that his party will continue to support Ukraine to defeat Russia’s aggression.

“There are only two paths in front of us: We can either stand up for Ukraine or bow down to Vladimir Putin. That is not a difficult choice,” he said. “We must stand up for America’s national security, we must stand up for democracy, we must stand up for freedom, we must stand up for truth, we must stand up for the Ukrainian people until victory is won.”

Jeffries urged swift action on a package to provide aid to Israel, Ukraine and other U.S. allies, which the White House has requested. 

“The House of Representatives should take up this national security package and humanitarian relief package immediately, in totality and without delay,” he said. “The time for gamesmanship is over. The time for brinkmanship is over. The time for partisanship is over. It’s time to get back to doing the business of the American people.”

Jeffries closed his remarks declaring, “Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election. He’s doing a great job under difficult circumstances and no amount of election denialism will ever change that reality. Not now. Not ever.”

The comment was a reference to Johnson’s work to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

“There are many throughout this country who are understandably alarmed at the turbulence of the moment, at the chaos, the dysfunction and the extremism that has been unleashed in this chamber from the very beginning of this Congress,” he said. “But this, too, shall pass.”

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