In his first address to the House after winning the speaker’s gavel, newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson thanked Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries and former speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Johnson told Jeffries that he looks forward to working with him.
“I know we see things from different points of view, but I know in your heart you want to do what’s right — so we’ll find common ground there,” Johnson said.
On McCarthy, Johnson said, “Kevin has dedicated over two decades of his life to selfless public service, 16 of those years in this House.”
“And you would be hard-pressed to find anybody who loves this institution more or has contributed more to it. He is the reason we’re in this majority today. His impact can never be overstated,” he added.
He also thanked the “overworked” and “beleaguered” staff of the House.
Johnson said his wife couldn’t be with him for his election to speaker, saying “we couldn’t get a flight in time. This happened sort of suddenly” but pledged that “the People’s House is back in business.”
The sudden rise of the Louisiana congressman to the speaker’s office capped a 22-day vacancy for the second in line to the presidency, and just over 20 hours after he threw his name into nomination following the House failing to elect a speaker three different times after the ouster of Kevin McCarthy. But he made a promise to the chamber: “I will not let you down.”
He said that the first bill he will bring to the floor later Wednesday will be a resolution in support of Israel, an announcement that drew cheers in the chamber.
Johnson also said the House would begin taking up the debt crisis “immediately.”
Johnson promised that his speakership would be known for “trust and transparency and accountability, for good stewardship of the people’s treasure, for the honesty, integrity that is incumbent upon us, all of us, in the people’s house.”
CNN’s Kristin Wilson contributed reporting to this post.