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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: Mike Johnson is not the House Speaker we need

The U.S. Capitol Building stands tall on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023.

Mike Johnson, the new Speaker of the House and a Louisiana native who grew up in the Bible Belt, seems like a very palatable speaker candidate for most Christians and Republicans. Shaking hands and accepting prayer requests make him seem like the most harmless of political actors even if you don’t agree with his political ideology. 

In a video posted on X, Johnson said, “We know that we're living in a completely amoral society,” referencing radical feminism, abortion, and divorce laws as the basis of his argument. 

However, Johnson’s policy plans seem amoral in themselves. 

Some of his biggest, most threatening takes are rooted in a significant cut in federal funding for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and children's health coverage. It is estimated that 23 million Americans would lose health insurance as a result of his new budgetary push.

Further, with an estimated 7.4 million families living below the poverty level, Johnson will have to act fast to put his “pro-family” priorities to the test. Hopefully, these priorities are for all families, though. After having a hand in crafting what has been called the national version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, one can’t be too certain. 

Johnson spent years fighting against gay rights prior to running for office, believing that if one is “trapped in a homosexual lifestyle, it’s dangerous.” 

In fact, these “pro-family” priorities seem to be only for those that fit Johnson’s ideal nuclear family.

He believes that laws that allow for a no-fault divorce are a “scheme” and to blame for our “completely amoral society.” 

Maybe Johnson hasn’t consulted the statistics on this one; if he did, he would find that states allowing for this type of divorce have shown a 20 percent decrease in related female suicides.  

He does believe that people should be allowed to be divorced with proof of domestic abuse, adultery or imprisonment. Still, the most dangerous time in a domestic abuse situation is when a partner attempts to escape, and this could be before they are able to prove experiences of domestic abuse, adultery or imprisonment. Further, the enactment of no-fault divorce laws led to a decline in women being murdered by their partners. 

Predictably, Johnson is a big defender of Second Amendment rights and views the “human heart” to be the problem rather than guns themselves. He took office the day after the deadly shooting of 18 people in Maine, and seemed to see no problem with the current state of gun legislation. Previously, he voted against the “Mental Health Matters Act.”

Johnson also opposes climate change legislation — even doubting whether manmade climate change exists. His campaign was largely funded by oil and gas companies. In the past, he has voted against bills that would reduce leaks of methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. Of course, he would also like to cut EPA funding, so maybe he can put some of that money into healing our human hearts!

As more political extremists are elected on each side of the political spectrum, the partisan gap in Congress has been cemented with Johnson taking on his role as Speaker of the House. 

It’s hard to tell what pieces of Johnson's legislative ideals will come to fruition. He has already created controversy, as House Republicans released a bill offsetting emergency Israel funding by rescinding IRS funding from the Inflation Reduction Act. This bill has not only upset Democrats but also many Republicans and has lowered the available money for continued support of Ukraine. 

Mike Johnson is not the speaker that the people need. His plans to take money out of social insurance funding and climate policy will greatly harm those who live at or below the poverty level. People who utilize these resources and live in areas in the United States that are greatly affected by climate change are certain to feel these effects the hardest and the fastest. 

We need a speaker who is representative of all people, not just a select few who fit Mike Johnson’s ideals of what it means to be an American. 


@dthopinion |

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