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Arizona's congressmen give new House Speaker Mike Johnson mixed, and partisan, reviews

After an extended stalemate within the controlling Republican Party, Louisiana congressman Mike Johnson was elected as House Speaker in October.

Arizona’s congressional delegation has mixed reviews on his performance so far — and, predictably, those reviews fall along party lines.

Johnson replaced Kevin McCarthy in a contentious battle for support by the party’s right wing. Just two months into the job, the new speaker has earned praise from Arizona’s conservative lawmakers, such as David Schweikert.

“It’s working fine. As he says it’s truly overwhelming, all the things that must be dealt with,” Schweikert said.

But analysts say that Congress remains divided, and that the gridlock that has characterized it in recent years is likely to continue. Raul Grijalva, a Democrat, said the new speaker has shown an unwillingness to compromise.

“If you want anything you have to give me everything. That’s how he negotiates. It’s part of a hostage-taking strategy to use hostage taking and use blackmail to get things done,” Grijalva said.

Johnson will face a big test over the budget after lawmakers return from their holiday break.

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Ron Dungan was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2024.