Speaker Mike Johnson Already Ruffling Dem Feathers, Brings Major ‘X-Factor’ to Table

New House Speaker Mike Johnson has taken the fight to the left right away, and it’s ruffling feathers in the Senate. Anything can happen, granted, but at least right out of the gate Johnson is proving that he’s more interested in advancing conservative goals than in playing patty-cake with the Democrats. According to Politico, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer reached out to his new counterpart in the lower chamber and urged him to take a “bipartisan approach.” As Politico lamented, “it’s safe to say that Johnson isn’t listening.” Good on him. The first bill Johnson sent to the Senate was a $14 billion spending measure providing aid to Israel. But it wasn’t the bill Schumer and the Democrats wanted because it included cuts to President Joe Biden’s outrageous hike in IRS funding. The move caused bitter tears at Politico, which reported that the bill was meant to “flex [Johnson’s] conservative credentials rather than show goodwill toward his Democratic counterpart on a mutual priority.” Naturally, Schumer was tweaked by it, too. “His first major legislative effort was not bipartisan at all. And I think he’s going to learn the hard way that that doesn’t work,” Schumer said. “The president already said he’d veto it. I said I wouldn’t put it on the floor and [Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell didn’t go for it.” Democratic Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse also tsk-tsked Johnson, criticizing his “inexperience” and “extremism.” It seems that the openly Christian speaker is not one of those collegial, noodle-spined leaders like John Boehner or Paul Ryan, who talked about conservative principles and then said that now is not the time to fight for those principles because we have to “get things done.” Johnson has put liberals on notice that they will have to take the House Republican caucus seriously for a change. The question remains, though, whether Johnson will be able to keep this conservative agenda in play. After all, the GOP does not have a strong majority in the House, and at least a third of the caucus are milquetoast establishment types who will bend over backward to accommodate the Democratic agenda. Johnson is still somewhat of a mystery to national leaders. As far as the establishment is concerned, he rose out of nowhere to take the speaker’s gavel. That “X-factor,” as Politico put it, gives him an advantage as his colleagues scramble to figure out how to deal with him. As GOP Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas noted, “Mike knows a lot more about Schumer than Schumer knows about Mike.” Of course, Johnson does have his supporters in the Senate. “Mike is a guy that you can get along with. But if Chuck thinks he’s gonna push him around, he’s gonna find he can’t,” Republican Oklahoma Sen. Markwayne Mullin said. Johnson has made it clear that he’s going to play hardball. Let’s just hope he maintains that edge.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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