Why is the speaker of the house so important?

In the government today, there are many leaders among leaders. In the executive branch you have the obvious choice: the President of the United States, Joe Biden. For the judicial branch, Chief Justice John Roberts leads the federal court system in the interpretation of the Constitution for the people. Then there is the legislative branch. 

     With two different systems in the legislative, the leader in the Senate is a leader in executive as well, that being the position of the Vice President of the United States, which currently is Kamala Harris. But in the House of Representatives, 435 members must choose one Speaker of the House. Recently, this position has been through many changes which makes us wonder why is the position of Speaker of the House so important?

To give some more understanding to the importance of the position and the chaos that has been happening with the position as of current, one government and politics fanatic, a good friend and former classmate of mine and nephew to the current speaker of the house Jacob Fleming, answered some questions with me to get a better understanding of the situation we are in. 

“The Speaker of the House is so important to the nation as they have control over the legislative agenda. Whichever party holds the position can hold their platform first in the agenda. They are the leader of the House and if needed, lead negotiations for the House against the Senate and President. Also being second in line to the presidency is very important to have a stable person in power in the Speaker position,” Fleming said on the importance of the Speaker role. 

Having this power in the government is very important for one to truly understand when they take on this role. Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California had a hard time keeping control over the House, specifically his own party. Having control over both parties is crucial for the role of Speaker and pleasing both sides frequently will also help with that.

Over the years, the Speaker of the House has become less important and has lost power over time, but it is still a crucial part of our government and legislature, especially over the past couple of months, the Speaker position has lost its status of being calm,chaotic and stressful. 

“I would say the Speaker has definitely lost power in the past few years, especially considering the concessions that McCarthy was forced to make when he was working to get elected. His eventual ejection from speakership is also indicative of the loss of control,” Fleming said. With the position being tainted by McCarthy having his ousts, the spot has been filled by Mike Johnson, a republican from Louisiana making him the 56th Speaker of the House. 

Not only is the Speaker of the House important because they are second in line to the presidency, but they are given major responsibilities within the legislative branch to consider everyone, not just their party or platform they worked upon. The Speakership has been through some rough waters in 2023, forcing Congress to start later than usual, then making a pause on the issues being considered to oust McCarthy and bring in Johnson. This has made the position fragile in the eyes of the public and the eyes of the representatives. Time will tell what the role will bring, as come next November, the party control might shift, and we could have a 57th Speaker of the House by 2025.