Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Republicans elected Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson, who played a key role in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, as the new speaker of the House on Wednesday.
Johnson received 220 votes with all Republicans who were present voting for him. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., received 209 votes with three members of his caucus absent.
Following his election, Johnson said the first bill he will call up will be in support of Israel, calling it "long overdue." He also called for "reining in" federal spending and increasing security at the southern border.
"We're in a time of extraordinary crisis right now," Johnson said. "Our country demands strong leadership from his House."
He added that he intends to "decentralize" the power of the House. He said his office will be known for trust, transparency and accountability.
"We want our allies around the world to know that this body of lawmakers is reporting again to our duty stations," Johnson said. "Let the enemies of freedom around the world hear us loud and clear, the people's house is back in business."
Johnson needed 217 votes to capture the gavel and end the three-week vacancy.
The House took up the resolution that Johnson said would be the No. 1 order of business, introduced by Texas Republican Michael McCaul and endorsed by New York Democrat Gregory Meeks. This was after a recess following Johnson being sworn in and the chamber was largely empty.
House resolution 771 condemns the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and supports Israel's defense. It also calls for sanctions on Iran.
"All roads lead to Iran. Their fingerprints are all over this attack," McCaul said.
The House convened at noon EDT, and Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., soon nominated Johnson. He was the Republicans' fourth choice for speaker since the role was vacated more than three weeks ago.
Democrats again opposed the speaker-select, remarking that he opposed the certification of ballots in the 2020 presidential election.
The Louisiana representative played an instrumental role in the attempt by House Republicans to overturn Donald Trump's election loss to Joe Biden. Former Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chair of the House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, called him "the most important architect of the Electoral College objections."
Johnson led more than 100 Republican lawmakers in an amicus brief supporting a Texas lawsuit that sought to challenge the results of the election in states won by Biden. The brief cited concern about "unconstitutional irregularities" in the voting.
Johnson serves as the vice chairman of the House Republican conference. Trump applauded his selection as speaker-designate, though he stopped short of giving an official endorsement.
"My strong suggestion is to go with the leading candidate, Mike Johnson, and get it done fast," Trump posted on social media early Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Trump took credit for "killing" previous speaker-designate Mike Emmer's bid. Emmer's nomination never made it to the House floor after it became apparent he would not reach the 217-vote threshold.
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., was the first candidate chosen following the removal of California Rep. Kevin McCarthy. Scalise never brought a vote to the House floor either. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio was then selected and went through three floor votes before stepping aside.
Jeffries took to the podium shortly after the vote to hand the gavel to Johnson. Before doing so, he delivered a speech expressing his support of quickly passing a bipartisan funding and humanitarian relief package for Israel, Ukraine, Palestinian civilians and other U.S. allies. He said he expects the Senate to send the package over within the next week.
"The House should take up that national security package and humanitarian relief package immediately and in totality, without delay," Jeffries said. "It's time to get back to doing the business of the American people."