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AFF Sentinel V20#51-The House Has A New Speaker

What Are His Principles? Bills Already Moving


Steve Dittmer | AFF Sentinel

Colorado Springs, CO

Originally sent to subscribers 10/27/23


We viewed the new Dinesh D’Souza film produced by Dan and Paula Bongino Wednesday night at the theater. Theater showings are over. Friday is the virtual premier. Details on watching online or ordering a CD are at https://policestatefilm.net/ We will have more about the film later but if you are concerned about the trends in our government and our federal agencies, you will want to see this sobering film, sometimes with actual video of agency raids of everyday Americans.


The Republicans finally found someone who was a conservative but satisfied moderates and very conservatives that he would lead them fairly.



Rep. Mike Johnson from Louisiana won the floor vote, gaining all 220 Republican votes.


Reading through Rep. Gary Palmer’s bio recently, wondering what manner of man could concoct such a terrific document as Palmer’s Principles we shared with you in our last column, we marveled at some of the really sterling members of Congress we’ve never heard about.


Rep. Mike Johnson is another example.


Certain words stand out on his official bio on the House website: conservative, Christian, Constitutional and limited government.


He’s a Constitutional lawyer, is on the Judicial Committee, and served two terms as vice-chairman of the House Republicans.


Judicial Chairman Jim Jordan had good things to say about Johnson’s work on the committee Thursday.


Johnson is also chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government, serves on the Select Committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government and the House Armed Services Committee.

 

He is past chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus, known as "the intellectual arsenal of conservatism in the House." He considers himself a “leading defender of the right to life, religious liberty, free speech, the Second Amendment and free market principles.”


Question is, will he be one who lives up to his promise or disappoints the conservatives who elected him? Can he bring moderates and conservatives together to get things done?


Besides appropriations bills and avoiding a government shutdown, war questions will be top priority. The first thing to hit the floor with Johnson as Speaker was a resolution of support for Israel’s right to self-defense, which a handful of Democrats opposed. Johnson supports some funding for Israel but said any future Ukraine funding would have to carry some conditions on how the money was spent and controlled.


The second bill was the appropriations bill for the Energy Department, pulling $5 billion in funding for some of President Biden’s climate change provisions, including subsidies for state and local governments for changing energy efficiency building codes; consumer rebates for brand new energy efficient appliances; water regulations promulgated by the Biden administration and cutting budgets for the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office by $466 billion.


This leaves seven more appropriations bills left to pass the House, as four were passed before the Speaker kerfuffle.


Johnson has set an aggressive timeline for getting the individual appropriations bills passed by the Nov. 17 deadline of the current CR.


Speaker Johnson has told his conference that given the tight deadlines the House is dealing with now, he may propose a Continuing Resolution (CR) until January 15 or April 15, depending on what the House decides. That would avoid getting jammed by the Senate with an omnibus just before Christmas and allow time to get the remaining appropriations bills passed out of committee. Some conservative members of the conference have indicated they trust Johnson to not use CRs on a regular basis.


Johnson’s reputation favoring cutting spending will likely help him through the next few months of dealing with budgets and deficits.


There is a provision in the debt ceiling bill passed earlier in the year that provides for significant automatic budget cuts if there is not a full budget bill by April.


At least for now, the House rule that allows one member to put forth a privileged motion to declare the Speaker’s chair vacant is still in place. It has not been mentioned often that that was the rule in place for decades prior to 2019. When the Democrats gained the majority then, they changed the rule so that a consensus of a conference was required to forward a motion to vacate. It was actually the long-term precedent that the Republicans brought back in 2023 and this was the first time it actually brought down a Speaker by floor vote.


However, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy said there is a Republican conference rule requiring the support of 50 percent of GOP members to introduce a motion to vacate the chair. That rule was violated this time.


Johnson said he would be open to the discussion of changing the rule.


Several times already Johnson has reiterated that he adheres to core principles: individual freedom, limited government, the rule of law, peace through strength, fiscal responsibility, free markets and human dignity.


Some Democrats are complaining that Johnson is pro-life, that he doesn’t hold that the 2020 election was properly conducted everywhere and opposes same-sex marriage.

He appears to be a true enough conservative to please the Freedom Caucus and has been deliberate and low-key enough not to make enemies.


After all, this is not a job for the faint of heart. In our business, the closest thing might be keeping a pen of buffalo, Brahmers and Chianinas happy in the same pen, even in the same pen.


But attitudes may have matured.


“I think there’s a newfound level of understanding amongst all of our members on what the priorities need to be,” Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida said.


One media story referred to Johnson as “mild-mannered.” Isn’t what they used to say about Clark Kent, with his studious look and glasses?


We shall see how that works out.


Contact info for House members:

Edi. Note: Picture below courtesy beef Check off).


 

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