After more than three weeks since Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted as Speaker of the House, on Wednesday the chamber finally elected Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) as the next Speaker in a strictly party line vote. A clear front runner had yet to emerge despite at least three members previously achieving support from a majority of the Republican conference during internal meetings. However, none of the prior candidates had enough support for a floor vote given the narrow margin of control the Republicans have in the House and any given candidate needs near unanimous backing from the conference to be successful.
What does this all mean? House committees were still functioning as usual but now the House floor is no longer at a standstill, and legislation can be brought forth for consideration. Despite this development a cloud still hangs over the fast-approaching November 17 expiration of the continuing resolution temporarily funding the government. Unless both chambers pass bills to fund the government for the rest of FY24, we could face the threat of yet another government shutdown. Speaker Johnson has already signaled a willingness to pass another short-term patch to buy more time to negotiate a broader spending package. GFOA’s Federal Liaison Center will continue to monitor and provide updates; but please see our previous article for shutdown resources.