Mike Johnson addressing the US House of Representatives after being elected as Speaker (Win McNammy/Getty Images/Photo courtesy of CNN)

A Recent History of the Speaker of the House

With the election of the United States’ Speaker Of The House, Representative Mike Johnson (he/him)(R-LA-4), being finalized on October 25th, it’s important to understand the recent history of the position. While they have each been contentious, the previous three speakers present a fair analysis of what to expect out of a Republican-led House. 

Johnson is the successor to Kevin McCarthy (he/him)(R-CA-20), who assumed the Speaker role on January 3rd, 2023, after 15 rounds of voting. McCarthy made history as the first ever Speaker of the House to be ousted from the position. During his time as speaker, McCarthy worked alongside President Joe Biden (he/him) to navigate an historic debt-ceiling crisis that threatened to default the country’s economy. However, his refusal to impeach Biden over various corruption allegations angered his fellow House Republicans, particularly those in the Freedom Caucus, and led to his ousting on October 3rd.

Prior to McCarthy was Nancy Pelosi (she/her)(D-CA-12), assuming the role on January 3rd, 2019. During her second stint as Speaker, which saw her tenure through the end of the Trump administration and the start of the Biden administration, Pelosi navigated keynote moments in both presidencies. Under Trump, her tenure began with launching an impeachment inquiry into the president, surrounding potential collaboration with foreign interferers of the 2016 Presidential election, and then again following the January 6th Capitol insurrection. Under Biden, she helped to pass the infrastructure spending package and continued the rollout of the COVID-19 response from the administration. 

Paul Ryan (he/him)(R-WI-1) was the speaker before Pelosi; assuming the role on October 29th, 2015, following the resignation of John Boehner (he/him)(R-OH-8). Although Ryan’s tenure started during the Obama administration, his body of work is most seen through the Trump administration. During his time, Ryan’s biggest accomplishment was helping to overhaul the US economy and tax system, through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act of 2018. However, Ryan came short on his other stated aim of balancing America’s budget, as evidenced by the extreme spending of the government during his time.

Johnson will assume this role during a tense period of time; with the increasing conflict in Israel, he has suggested in a meeting with Biden that funding for the IRS should be cut to provide Israel with aid.

Mike Johnson addressing the US House of Representatives after being elected as Speaker (Win McNammy/Getty Images/Photo courtesy of CNN)
Mike Johnson addressing the US House of Representatives after being elected as Speaker (Win McNammy/Getty Images/Photo courtesy of CNN)
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