The race for Speaker of the House seems to have come to an end, for now, as Republicans have rallied around Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson (R-LA-06), lifting the three-week paralysis on House business.
Johnson’s election as the fifty-sixth Speaker comes off the heels of Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA-21) historic expulsion from the post earlier this month.
McCarthy’s expulsion from the leadership position is a first in United States history, as a contentious January election process resulted in conditions of his approval by several holdout members of the House. McCarthy’s gavel was held hostage until he agreed to a creative provision: a vote of no confidence in the sitting Speaker that could be enacted by just one member of the House.
After the government shutdown was averted by a stopgap bill, Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL-01) submitted a motion to vacate the Speaker’s chair. The House of Representatives, already decided on fractious lines, was all but certain to push McCarthy out, as Republican intraparty fighting allowed for several GOP lawmakers to be the deciding votes on McCarthy’s leadership, while Democrats jumped on board citing McCarthy’s blame for the near-government shutdown on Democrats.
Since then, Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10) has served as acting Speaker until the House elects an official replacement. Kevin McCarthy is not running for the seat again.
Since then, the question of what wing of the party from which the next Speaker will arrive has been anyone’s guess. A quick resolution seemed imminent in the well-liked, well-mannered, and reasonably conservative Steve Scalise (R-LA-01), who withdrew from the race one day after being nominated.
The conversation then turned to Jim Jordan (R-OH-04), a more firebrand conservative voice who chairs the powerful House Judiciary Committee. He failed to win the speakership in three rounds of voting and had his nomination revoked by the House Republican Conference.
On October 24, the Conference nominated Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN-06). The Minnesota Republican has represented suburban Minneapolis since 2015 and has risen the ranks of the Republican Party to the position of Majority Whip. His nomination was initially seen as a more compromisable answer, as he has been a more faithful member of the party while also straddling a fine line due to the lean of his district and state.
Emmer dropped out of the race mere hours after securing the nomination in a closed-door meeting, due to the prospect of not having enough votes on the House floor to obtain the gavel.
The Republican Conference then moved to Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Congressman who was elected in 2016 who chairs the Republican Study Committee and is Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference.
Johnson’s candidacy, and subsequent election to the Speakership, are proverbial curveballs as he himself did not specifically seek the speakership, rather he had entertained the notion based on the encouragement of his colleagues.
In a weekend letter to his colleagues, Johnson stated that it is the duty of the Republican Party to “chart a new path” and that he has a “clear vision and plan for how to lead.”
Johnson is generally well-liked by his caucus and is seen as a more policy-driven Republican, albeit somewhat milquetoast compared to his colleagues, and his less well-known outside certain conservative circles. Johnson does, however, have more of a relationship with the more populist wing of his party, many of whom stonewalled the McCarthy votes in January and are responsible for the vacancy created earlier this month.
After a brutal Tuesday, Johnson was crowned the GOP nominee for Speaker and was elected Wednesday afternoon with 220 votes to Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ (D-NY-08).
Long Island’s House delegation found itself in the eye of the hurricane, as Republicans Nick LaLota (R-NY-01), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY-02), and Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY-04) held the line against certain conservatives while holding out for a Speaker how demonstrated sympathy to Long Islanders’ needs. All three Congressmen voted against Jim Jordan in all three of his votes and instead cast ballots for former Congressman and 2022 gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley).
In an interview with Newsday, Congressman LaLota said that “it’s not about the personality, it’s about the policy.”
“What I have said to anybody running for this office is that my constituents matter most to me,” said LaLota. He stated that firstly, any Speaker must be willing to pass an actual budget, “pursue our commitment to America,” while holding the Biden Administration “accountable,” securing the border, and reducing debt. Specifically, LaLota mentioned working on State and Local Tax (SALT) Deductions, a prime issue among Long Island voters who face nation-high property taxes.
Congressman LaLota issued a statement after the vote:
“The election of the right Speaker is vitally important to the survival of Republican Freshman Members, like me, who won Biden Districts last year. We need a House Speaker who will unite Members from the reddest districts with Members from blue state Biden Districts like mine. We need a strong, dynamic and bold conservative who will fight like hell to protect and grow our majority to put our great country back on the right track. Mike Johnson is that Speaker.”
LaLota highlighted Johnson’s understanding on Long Island’s needs:
“Speaker Mike Johnson understands Long Island’s issues: he’s a Louisiana native who supports the National Flood Insurance Program. Mike Johnson is the son of a firefighter who was critically burned and disabled in the line of duty, with a keen appreciation for what First Responders and those who served on “the pile” went through and are still suffering from post-9/11. Finally, Mike understands New York’s taxes are out of control and that my constituents need a higher SALT cap. I am confident Speaker Johnson will lead the House and the Country in the right direction. The House is in good hands with Speaker Mike Johnson at the helm. Now let’s get back to work!”
Governor Kathy Hochul (D) is being lobbied by a corporate group backed by the Koch Industries to refrain from signing a first-in-the-nation transparency bill that would publicize owners of shell corporations.
Donors to Hochul’s campaign are also voicing opposition to new disclosure requirements for limited liability companies, LLCs, which allow for owners’ identities to remain concealed.
The bill was passed by the state legislature in June. If it receives Hochul’s signature, it would not only unmask owners of shell corporations, but also require LLCs to report personal information while creating a landmark database providing public access to it.
While LLCs are allowed to utilize legal tax breaks and protections, the guidelines are notoriously vague, which has led to a common pattern of abuse among money launderers, tax evaders, and other dishonest business dealers. LLCs can be used as fake “shell” corporations to hide money, avert income taxes, and keep owners and earners anonymous.
Since assuming office in 2021, Hochul has accepted $2.1 million in campaign contributions from companies registered as LLCs, according to The Guardian. City & State also reported that real estate LLCs are among the largest donors to her 2026 gubernatorial campaign, with many executives across multiple firms already maxing out their legal contributions.
Congressman Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport) has introduced a resolution to recognize October as Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
“The resolution celebrates individuals with Down syndrome, their families and caregivers, and leaders in the advocacy and medical research community for their work to improve the quality of life for individuals with Down syndrome.”
“Down Syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition diagnosed in the United States, but it is also poorly understood,” said Garbarino. “As the prevalence of Down Syndrome has increased in recent years, it has become all the more important that we educate ourselves and raise awareness – not just about the condition itself, but about the incredible talent and resilience found among those with Down Syndrome. I am proud to sponsor this resolution in support of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month in the House and I thank my colleagues for joining together in a bipartisan bicameral effort to stand with the Down Syndrome community.”