House selects new speaker 

U.S. Capitol Building dome in Washington DC.(Photo by Kristen Labadie, University Communication and Marketing.)

When U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, R-LA, was elected Speaker of the House on Oct. 25 a sigh of relief could be heard from veteran lawmakers and agricultural observers. Congress might now be able to move forward on key legislation including the farm bill. 

U.S. Rep. Don Bacon, R-NE, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, praised Johnson’s selection. He called Johnson, who serves the Fourth District in northwest Louisiana, “a very good man and a decent man.” 

Bacon praised Johnson’s speech, calling it “Reaganesque” with civility. Johnson struck the right tone with humbleness and patriotism. 

Mike Johnson. (Courtesy photo.)
Mike Johnson. (Courtesy photo.)

In a statement, Johnson appreciated the support throughout a process that began in early October when former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, was voted out. 

“Thank you to my colleagues, friends, staff, and family for the unmatched support throughout this process,” Johnson said. “It has been an arduous few weeks, and a reminder that the House is as complicated and diverse as the people we represent. The urgency of this moment demands bold, decisive action to restore trust, advance our legislative priorities, and demonstrate good governance. 

Congressman Frank Lucas, R-OK, who voted for Johnson, praised the selection. Lucas is also a member of the House Agriculture Committee. 
“I look forward to getting the House back in order so that we can tackle the issues facing our country at home and abroad,” Lucas said. “Like my colleagues in Washington and my constituents in Oklahoma, I am excited for this next chapter of leadership in our country.” 

U.S. Rep. Tracey Mann, R-KS, supported Johnson.  “Now, we need to get back to work. We have 23 days left to restore fiscal sanity and complete the appropriations process before a government shutdown.”   

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-KS, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, said Johnson needs to reach out and work in a bipartisan manner. 

“The only way to deliver real results for Kansans is by Republicans and Democrats working together,” Davids said. “Kansans are frustrated with Washington and are demanding solutions instead of more partisanship, especially now as we confront multiple crises throughout the world that require swift action. While the new House leadership may not share this same goal, I remain committed to finding bipartisan solutions to address the everyday challenges faced by Kansans, including lowering the costs of groceries and gas.” 

In a news release, the American Soybean Association said even with the possibility of a fast-tracked 2023 farm bill, it is more realistic that the 2018 farm bill will need to be extended temporarily to prevent the triggering of permanent farm law provisions, which are costly and burdensome. Leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee have both publicly called for a farm bill extension to provide additional time for congressional work on a new and meaningful bipartisan farm bill. 

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said Johnson has a strong history of supporting America’s farmers and ranchers, which has earned him the Friend of Farm Bureau award multiple times. 

“America’s families are relying on Speaker Johnson, and Congress, to focus on pressing needs, including completion of fiscal year 2024 appropriations and passage of a farm bill. The farm bill provides certainty to those who grow this nation’s food, fuel and fiber and plays a vital role in ensuring a safe and affordable food supply for everyone. 

A North American Meat Institute executive looked forward to working with Johnson on meat and poultry issues. Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts said, “Our members are a critical part of the food value chain and call on Speaker Johnson to ensure the federal government remains funded and able to address key challenges especially persistent labor shortages and inflation.” 

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].