Newly elected Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) compared his first full week as the top-ranking member of the House to an intense hurricane, in remarks to reporters Thursday.
“Well, I’m from Louisiana,” Johnson said at his first official press conference as Speaker, when asked how his first week has been. “So I describe everything in either football or hurricane metaphors.”
“Let me tell, this is like an F5 hurricane,” he continued. “It’s been a whirlwind, but in a great way.”
An F5 storm refers to the highest category a tornado can reach on the Fujita Damage Intensity Scale, also called an “incredible tornado,” which ranges from 261 to 318 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
Johnson’s ascent to the position was swift and unexpected. But his Speakership bid followed weeks of failed attempts by the GOP to find a more experienced replacement for the job — after former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was dismissed from his post on Oct. 3.
Johnson, who previously had little name recognition outside his district and the walls of the Capitol, has now been catapulted into the limelight. Now he’s seen the perks of the Speakership, from getting a personal security detail, to requests for pictures with tourists.
Despite Johnson’s whirlwind shot to Speakership and its perks, he already faces tough battles ahead. He is pushing through a House GOP version of the White House’s emergency supplemental request, which included aid for Israel, Ukraine and other national security needs. Johnson has pledged to move forward on an Israel-only aid package — despite a threat from the White House to veto such a proposal.
The government also runs out of funding on Nov. 17, by which point all appropriations bills need to be passed through both chambers and sent to the president’s desk. Alternatively, the House can pass a continuing resolution, which would buy both chambers more time to get the government funded.
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