- In late October, House Republicans elected a little-known congressman as their next leader.
- Mike Johnson, who replaced Republican Kevin McCarthy, has led the chamber for less than a month.
- Business Insider did a report on his achievements so far.
Mike Johnson has been Speaker of the House for less than a month after a tumultuous race to succeed ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
As Business Insider detailed the day before the House promoted Johnson to the position, a mountain of responsibilities quickly piled up on the vacant speaker’s desk as Republicans debated for weeks before reaching an agreement on Johnson.
Nearly a month later — and about five weeks into the new year — we’re bringing you a report to evaluate the newly crowned speaker’s success to date.
Government Funding: Pass (for now)
In October, McCarthy was removed from his leadership position after passing bipartisan legislation to temporarily fund the government through a “clean” resolution.
More than a month later, Johnson narrowly avoided a government shutdown and passed much the same legislation, but with a catch: The plan fully funds the government through the end of the year, but after that, various sectors of the government face the possibility of being shut down if Congress fails to come together to extend funding .
Johnson’s so-called “ladder” approach has been sharply criticized by congressional Democrats, Republicans and even the White House, which called it a “frivolous proposal.”
Nevertheless, it is a plan that Johnson pushed, that Congress approved, and that Biden implemented. For now, it is financed by the government, but there is no guarantee that it will remain so for much longer.
War/Humanitarian Financing for the Israel-Gaza Conflict: Failure
Just days after McCarthy’s sudden ouster, Hamas militants launched a surprise terrorist attack on Israel, killing more than 1,000 civilians. Since then, Israel’s military response has been deadly over 12,000 Palestinians.
In late October, Biden asked Congress to provide $14.3 billion for Israel during the war, in addition to billions in humanitarian aid for Gaza.
Johnson and House Republicans agreed to the $14.3 billion figure, but the plan they pushed financed the cash infusion by cutting billions of dollars in funding to the Internal Revenue Service that the agency received under the Inflation Reduction Act.
Although the bill passed in the House of Representatives, it went to the Democratic-led Senate after it entered the Senate, especially after the White House vowed to veto it if it reached Biden’s desk.
Latest reports predicted that congressional leaders still hope to pass legislation providing additional aid to Israel, but there do not appear to be many specific details of the plan yet.
Additional war funds for Ukraine: failure
The conflict in the Middle East is not the only war effort that the U.S. government publicly seeks to finance.
In more than a year, the United States has already sent more than $75 billion in aid to Ukraine’s ongoing fight against Russia’s invaders. The White House has also asked Congress to approve an additional $61.4 billion for Ukraine, but Johnson has not yet brought any legislation regarding potential Ukrainian funding to a vote.
Several Republicans in Congress have said they would only consider supporting additional funding for Ukraine if it was coupled with an influx of funds to strengthen the U.S.-Mexico border, further complicating the process.
Republican Michael McCaul, who recently chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee said TheHill in his opinion, the Senate will adopt the bill on financing conflicts in Ukraine and Israel, US border security and Taiwan.
“I think we will have a law on the border with Ukraine,” McCaul said. “And then the Senate, after Thanksgiving, will probably pass the bill on Ukraine, Israel, the border and Taiwan. And this will reach us and the marshal will have to make a decision.”
Farm Bill: Pass (for now)
The Congressional Graduation Resolution recently passed not only temporarily financed the government: it also included: extension for one year to the agreement adopted by Congress in 2018
Notably, the 2018 Farm Bill was enacted before the pandemic and subsequent surge in inflation, which had a profound impact on the industry as a whole.
President of the American Farm Bureau Federation recently said Texas Farm Bureau that while an extension of the 2018 law is a start, a new one is needed in early 2024 to directly “reflect today’s realities.”
Section 702: Failure
Without any congressional intervention, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act will expire at the end of the year. Initially founded in 2008 Article 702 allows the U.S. government to secretly surveil foreigners outside the country “who are expected to possess, receive, or transmit foreign intelligence information.”
According to Related pressinformation obtained by the federal government authorized under Section 702 constitutes nearly 60% of the president’s daily briefings.
AND two-party coalition members of Congress introduced the “Government Surveillance Reform Act” in early November, which would partially reauthorize Section 702 for the next four years, although it also included several proposed reforms to the extent to which the intelligence community can surveil Americans, which the White House has already done, said is not a starter.
Johnson has a well-documented history of criticizing the Intelligence Collection Act. In January he sent a letter along with Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, he called on the FBI director to allege a “manifest widespread violation of privacy principles” committed by the intelligence community with the consent of the statute.
But with just over a month until her license expires, Johnson has been on the topic since becoming speaker.
Collection: to be determined
Johnson, who has served in Congress since 2017, had very little fundraising experience before he was suddenly thrust to the top of the presidential line of succession. In fact, he has never raised more than $1.3 million in any election.
So after he unexpectedly became speaker, a position that required him to spearhead fundraising for his party, it was unclear how Johnson would take on this added responsibility.
Johnson’s has since hired former “fundraising guru” McCarthy and a slew of other advisers to support him in his new role. He also recently launched a new joint fundraising committee aimed at supporting House GOP candidates, Grow the Majority.
As of late November, though it’s not yet clear how much Johnson has raised.