WASHINGTON, DC — The first two days of the new Republican-controlled US House of Representatives have been unlike anything the nation has seen in a century. Republicans have tried and failed six times to elect a new Speaker of the House, leaving the chamber without an official leader. In the meantime, keeping order falls on the shoulders of a University of Iowa graduate.

Cheryl Johnson, the US House Clerk, is presiding over the action on the floor of the US House right now as a historic power struggle plays out on national television. For the last 100 years, when control of the US House changes from one party to another, the new majority chooses a new Speaker as its first order of business. But with the GOP failing to rally around a new leader, the job of keeping the House’s business moving falls on Johnson.

Johnson is Louisiana native and a 1980 graduate of the University of Iowa where she earned a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. She studied law at Howard University. She worked in the US House in numerous roles for 20 years before joining the Smithsonian Institute. After 10 years there, she was called back to work at the Capitol.

Cheryl Johnson was elected as House Clerk by members of the House in 2019 after Democrats retook control of the majority. She will continue serving in the role and keeping order in the House until a new Speaker is chosen, a new Congress is officially seated and a new House Clerk is chosen.

“The institution of the US House of Representatives is in great hands with Cheryl Johnson presiding over it,” former Missouri Congressman William Clay told MSNBC earlier this week.