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Speaker Johnson eyes ‘big radical changes’ under GOP majorities

A vote for Republicans, House Speaker Mike Johnson declared, is a vote for “big radical changes” and “aggressive changes” to the United States government.


House Speaker Mike Johnson, the Republican conference’s fifth choice to wield the gavel, probably isn’t enjoying the job. As regular readers know, resignations in the GOP-led chamber have reached a generational high. Legislative progress has slowed to a pace unseen in nearly a century. Lawmakers are struggling mightily to complete basic tasks. The Louisianan is advancing must-pass bills, but he’s relying on the Democratic minority to do so.

Johnson organized a retreat focused on unifying his conference, and most of his members didn’t show up. Soon after, one of the conference’s most notorious extremists launched an effort to fire him. A recent Punchbowl News report concluded, “This is the most chaotic, inefficient and ineffective majority we’ve seen in decades covering Congress.”

But as the House speaker prepares to lead a conference with a one-vote majority, Johnson is nevertheless dreaming of better days. This was the message the Republican leader pushed during an interview that aired late last week:

Johnson continued saying, “We have to reform the way Washington works,” and noted the recently House-passed omnibus spending bill. “When we get a larger majority, I mean for goodness’ sake, give me at least two votes ... I think we can have a larger sizable majority ... you get that, you get the Senate, we’re going to make big radical changes. I have talked to [former] President [Donald] Trump, and all my colleagues about what that first 100 days looks like. And you will see proof right out of the gate, I mean aggressive changes.”

In the not-too-distant past, GOP leaders used to assure the American electorate that electing Republicans would mean steady hands at the wheel, delivering modest and incremental changes.

Ahead of the 2024 elections, Johnson is doing the opposite: A vote for Republicans, he declared, is a vote for “big radical changes” and “aggressive changes” to the United States government.

Those wondering about the details of what kind of “big radical changes” are in store under GOP rule are asking the right questions. Unfortunately, there are no clarifying answers: Johnson hasn’t presented any specifics as to what Americans can expect once Republicans reclaim the levers of federal power and get to work on implementing an “aggressive” blueprint.

Evidently, voters are supposed to simply put the radicalized GOP in a position of authority and hope for the best.

Voters who are inclined to exercise greater caution, however, need not feel like they’re flying blind. The Republican Study Committee — representing more than three-quarters of the House Republican Conference, including Johnson and the rest of the GOP leadership team — recently released a lengthy plan, highlighting the kind of measures the party and its members would pursue if given the opportunity.

It’s a dramatically right-wing document that would, among other things, undermine Social Security and Medicare, impose new restrictions on abortion rights, cut support for law enforcement, and gut the nation’s health care system.

If these are some of the “big radical changes” that the House speaker has in mind, Johnson should probably speak up before Election Day, so that Americans know what to expect.