Johnson elected House speaker, ending weekslong gridlock

The Louisiana Republican takes the gavel as a government funding agreement and the upcoming farm bill are set to impact the irrigation industry.

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, has been elected the 56th speaker of the United States House of Representatives. 

Johnson was elected speaker after four failed speaker votes to replace Kevin McCarthy, R-California, who was removed as speaker Oct. 3. 

“We went through a lot to get here, but we are ready to govern and that will begin right away,” Johnson said in his first news conference as speaker, according to the New York Times. 

The herculean task of passing a government funding agreement will have significant impacts on the irrigation industry, says Nathan Bowen, vice president of advocacy and public affairs of the Fairfax, Virginia-based Irrigation Association. 

“The stalemate over the speakership has paralyzed Congress and halted action on really important legislation for our industry,” says Bowen. “Johnson has a difficult task in front of him to unify the Republican party and undertake the basic functions of Congress like funding the government. A federal government shutdown can — and has in the past— cause challenges for irrigation businesses.” 

Funding the government is only one part of the equation, however, says Bowen. Passing a farm bill is also vitally important. 

“We will be looking to Johnson to make getting a farm bill across the finish line a priority,” says Bowen. “His leadership will be crucial to navigating the complicated farm bill dynamics in the House.” 

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