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We Do Have a Speaker

Post # 321, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary

With a one-vote cushion, the Speaker has shown he can least for now.

Governing the U. S. House of Representatives is tough even in the best of times. There are 435 members with a typical turnover of 100 or so new members, so it is difficult to manage the House. Then in 2022, a new equal number of Republicans and Democrats were elected so the job became near impossible. Then a wing of the Republicans--the Conservative Caucus--decided to change the rules and allow one member to call for a vote to replace the Speaker. The result was the Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy, not popular with the Conservatives, was removed. An unknown back bencher, Mike Johnson of Louisiana was barely elected as the new Speaker. Shortly after his election, a member of the Conservative Caucus moved to replace him, with another unknown new Speaker. That vote is still pending.

In the meantime, Speaker Johnson has begun to grow in the office of Speaker. He has sought and obtained enough Democratic votes to keep the government afloat. After the shock of both winning and now maybe losing the Speakership, he has begun to grow in the knowledge and tactics of bi-partisan governing.

Speaker Johnson is not an isolationist like most of the Conservative Caucus members. He wants to get U.S. aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. The Republicans are split on the three aid packages, so the Speaker has decided to unbundle them with separate votes. By working with the Democrats, he can pass each separate by a small margin. Then for the final passage, he stitches them all back together with a few more must-have amendments to ensure passage. That is how Speaker Tip O'Neil worked with President Reagan successfully in the 80's. The members will reluctantly vote for a bill that has things they don't like to get the things they do like.

The Conservative Caucus of the Republican Party are furious and will no doubt try to remove Johnson from the Speakership. But the majority of the House--bipartisan with enough Republicans and Democrats--may just save the day for this country and pass the funding needs of our country.

It is true--sausage is not pretty to watch being made, but it sure tastes good when served.



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