HELENA — After three weeks, the U.S. House has chosen a new speaker, and Montana’s two representatives both had high praise for him.
On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, was officially elected speaker, after securing the endorsement of House Republicans the night before. He received support on the floor from all 220 Republicans voting.
U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale, of Montana’s eastern district, was one of eight Republicans who initially voted to remove former speaker Kevin McCarthy – starting this process. He told MTN Wednesday that he was very pleased with the results and with Johnson as speaker.
“I think the biggest difference is we're going to have a level of trust and confidence in the commitments that he makes to us, that we can rely on their being carried out,” he said. “Mike Johnson is a man of integrity, and the speaker's office is going to be opened up to the members and to the constituents, instead of just to the lobbyist community – and that is really a huge difference.”
Rosendale said he expects Johnson to be a “fiscal hawk,” and to put a priority on advancing individual appropriations bills for each section of government instead of large omnibus bills – something Rosendale has frequently advocated for.
Rosendale told MTN, despite the sometimes heated disagreements within the Republican conference over the last few weeks, he believes they have come out in a better place after the speaker battle.
“I think the Republican conference is going to be much stronger because, again, when you have a leader that everyone can count on, then it makes the entire team stronger,” he said. “And that's what we have.”
U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, representing Montana’s western congressional district, also praised Johnson after Wednesday’s vote.
“Mike is talented, thoughtful and conservative and I am proud to have cast my vote for him as Speaker of the House,” he said in a post on social media. “I've visited with Mike about his priorities and have his assurance that his frontside focus is on securing the border, reigning in Biden's anti-American spending, and taking care of our troops and veterans.”