▶ Watch Video: Next for House Speaker Mike Johnson: Avoiding a government shutdown

For the first time in weeks, the House has a permanent speaker, and can finally move forward with time-sensitive legislation. Exactly what new House Speaker Mike Johnson will bring to the floor — and what he plans to either delay or bypass — is coming into focus, as Washington gets to know a relatively low-profile member whose prior experience in leadership in Congress was his role as deputy whip. 

Congress faces a variety of pressing concerns in the near term: government funding runs out in mid-November, and there is bipartisan support for providing financial support to Israel against Hamas. Johnson suggested that there may be conditions attached to legislation he’ll put on the floor in the coming weeks. 

Israel funding

The first action the House took after Johnson was sworn in as speaker was to pass a resolution affirming support for Israel, a symbolic gesture. But Johnson says the House will bring to the floor a standalone bill providing about $14.5 billion in supplemental aid to Israel, the same figure that was requested by the White House. However, Johnson told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Thursday that he wanted that spending to be offset, which may prompt some opposition.

“We’re going to find pay-fors in the budget,” he told Hannity. “We’re not just printing money to send it overseas. We’re going to find the cuts elsewhere to do that.”  

That bill is expected to come to the House floor soon.

Ukraine funding

Johnson, like many other House Republicans, seems less likely to move as quickly on military aid to Ukraine, despite the Pentagon’s recent warning to lawmakers that Ukraine funding is running low. 

He told Hannity that aid to Israel and Ukraine must be separate items, after President Biden requested a supplemental package that would provide aid to both at the same time. 

“I told the staff at the White House today that our consensus among House Republicans is that we need to bifurcate those issues,” Johnson told Hannity.

Still, Johnson told the Fox News host the U.S. “can’t allow Vladimir Putin to prevail in Ukraine because I don’t believe it would stop there.”

Government funding 

Johnson has expressed his distaste for continuing resolutions, or short-term funding bills when Congress can’t agree on comprehensive ones. Government funding currently runs out on Nov. 17. 

He would like the House to pass individual spending bills for the full fiscal year, but he told Hannity Republicans are working to make sure that if a stopgap bill to keep the government open past Nov. 17 is required, “we do it with certain conditions.” He did not say what those conditions would be.

Conservatives have long expressed frustration with keeping government spending at current levels and want to make cuts. 

Gun control

The deadly mass shooting perpetrated by a suspect in Maine this week hasn’t changed Johnson’s mind on gun control. He is a staunch defender of gun owners’ rights and remains opposed to considering further steps to restrict access to guns. 

“At the end of the day, the problem is the human heart,” Johnson told Hannity. “It’s not guns, not the weapons. At the end of the day, we have to protect the right of the citizens to protect themselves and that’s the Second Amendment.” 

Johnson said it’s not the right time to talk about legislation related to gun control, although he expects discussions later, including on addressing mental health. 

Like the vast majority of House Republicans, Johnson voted against a 2022 bill tightening access to guns for some populations. The bill did receive bipartisan support.

Gay marriage 

In his conversation with Hannity, Johnson indicated he would had no plans to try to move legislation opposing gay marriage, saying, “This has been settled by the Supreme Court” in its 2015 Obergefell opinion. The high court ruled that banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. 

“So, that’s the decision,” Johnson said. “… I’m a constitutional law attorney — I respect that, and we move forward.” 

Last year, with bipartisan support, the House passed a bill protecting same-sex and interracial marriages at the federal level. The bill, which had previously passed the Senate with bipartisan support, was signed into law.

Abortion

Johnson, who spent years fighting against abortion rights as a lawyer for a conservative Christian advocacy group, appeared to distance himself from the idea of a federal abortion ban for now, although some of the most conservative members of Congress and several GOP presidential candidates favor a national ban. He suggested that abortion bans may best be left to the states.

“We argued my entire career for 25 years that the states should have the right to do this. There’s no national consensus among the people on what to do with that issue on a federal level, for certain. We have such big priorities in this moment right now,” Johnson told Hannity, pointing to other matters like Israel and Ukraine. 

Changing the motion to vacate that resulted in McCarthy’s removal as speaker

Johnson didn’t go into detail on whether or how he would propose changing the current “motion to vacate” rule, a rule that enabled a single member, Rep. Matt Gaetz, to force a no-confidence vote in former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. 

“I think we’re going to change it,” Johnson told Hannity.