Johnson also offered a brief history of the expansion of government and said the Senate was partly to blame.
“This body played a key role in limiting federal government expansion,” said Johnson. “Debate in the Senate was unlimited. The cloture vote did not exist. As George Washington had said, the Senate really was the saucer that cooled the tea.”
“All that changed in the 20th century’s second decade,” said Johnson. “The Senate adopted the cloture vote, and America adopted the 16th Amendment.”
Johnson was referring to the constitutional amendment that allowed the federal government to collect an income tax, which, in part, fueled its expansion.
Johnson said he had been sent on a mandate from the people of Wisconsin to make tough decisions and restore America’s prosperity.
“Let’s roll up our sleeves, and do what needs to be done,” he said.
Several members of the Senate Republican caucus gathered around Johnson to hear his speech, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and fellow freshman Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)
When Johnson’s speech concluded, McConnell hailed him as a “man who had actually run a business, created prosperity and created work.”