Mike Johnson plans Republican mega-bill ready to push through if Trump wins | Republicans

Mike Johnson, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, is planning a sweeping ideological legislative drive that aims to make Donald Trump “the most consequential president of the modern era” if the Republicans win power in November.

A far-reaching bill containing a range of policy priorities at once – including tax cuts worth trillions, border security and rolling back Obamacare – is being prepared to avoid the mistakes the GOP believed happened early in Trump’s first term, when Johnson says the party wasted time because its victory over Hillary Clinton took it by surprise.

In an interview with Semafor, Johnson said he had already spoken to Trump about introducing an omnibus package immediately after he retakes office.

“I told him that I believe he can be the most consequential president of the modern era, if we are focused on a policy and agenda-driven administration and Congress – and that’s our intention,” Johnson said.

“We don’t want to make the mistake that we made in the past. Back in the 2017 timeframe and in previous years, we Republicans kind of took a single-subject approach. We did one round of healthcare reform, one round of tax reform. But for [fiscal year 2025], we want to have a much larger scope, multiple issues to address in addition to the expiration of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

The ambitious vision has been thrashed out in recent weeks in meetings with up to nine Republican congressional committee chairs, producing a “transformational” legislative wishlist. The plans have been communicated across the entire Republican conference, as Johnson seeks to heal the bitter divisions with the party’s hard right that has seen his own speakership challenged.

The Republicans’ wafer-thin House majority meant that he needed the votes of Democrats to save his job from a motion tabled by the hardline Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, making Johnson’s radical vision for the future of his speakership all the more startling.

“A lot of this has to do with communication and coordination and we’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way on both of those things,” he told Semafor. “When you have a historically small majority as we do right now, those are really necessary components to building consensus. And we’ve already begun that process.”

In a separate interview with Punchbowl, Johnson – who became speaker last October after an internal GOP coup toppled his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy – said he had analysed the legislative calendar to ensure the radical reform package would pass in the event of the Republicans capturing both House and Senate, as they did when Trump won in 2016.

“We’re very carefully analysing the number of calendar days that we’ll have to work, floor time, all the rest – everything that will be required to achieve all these big goals that we have,” he said.

First on the agenda is expected to be renewing Trump’s enormous 2017 tax cuts, due to expire next year. Their restoration would cost trillions of dollars.

Johnson did not commit to fully repealing Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, passed in 2022.

He also said “no coordinated policy” had been established towards Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare. But he signalled an intention to tackle the issue by saying that “innovation and change is desperately needed” in healthcare.

Trump tried to replace the act in the early months of his presidency in 2017 but failed to get his alternative legislation past the Senate.

Johnson is also close to sending an invitation to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to address a joint session of Congress, an event he has predicted will happen before it goes into recess in August.

The invitation letter has already been signed by Johnson and Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate majority leader, who has criticised Netanyahu’s prosecution of the war in Gaza and said Israel needs fresh elections and new leadership.

Having already secured the approval of Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate minority leader, Johnson has passed the letter to the Democratic House minority leader, Hakeem Jeffries, for review in an effort to present the invitation as bipartisan and bicameral.

Nevertheless, with the progressive wing of the Democratic party fiercely critical of Israel’s Gaza offensive – which has so far killed more than 36,000 Palestinians – Netanyahu’s appearance in Washington in an election season is likely to further exacerbate and expose deep Democratic divisions over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, presenting a boon to Republicans.

On the legislative package, which would also include energy policy, Johnson said there were multiple priorities that could survive the “Byrd rule”, named after the late Democratic senator Robert Byrd and which prohibits non-budgetary provisions being included in reconciliation legislation brought before the Senate.

“We’re just looking at it from a very different, much more comprehensive approach,” he said. “And I think there’s a lot of interest among House Republicans – and the outside groups of course – about what that can look like and what the potential is.”

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