Sep 30, 2021
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy Press Conference Transcript September 30
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy held a press conference on September 30, 2021 to discuss the infrastructure bill, reconciliation, and the debt ceiling. Read the transcript of the news briefing here.
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Kevin McCarthy: (00:01)
Thank you. I appreciate it. What would you consider that answer to be?
Speaker 2: (00:06)
Far beyond me to make judgment.
Kevin McCarthy: (00:11)
All right. Good morning. Thank you all for being here. Very good.
Kevin McCarthy: (00:16)
What we’ve seen from the Democrats this week: disfunction, delusion, a deception. This all might help sell papers, but it doesn’t help the country one bit. An ineffective government helps no one. A failure in leadership helps no one. As the results have shown, it makes things worse. Our country is in a crisis. We have a border crisis. There has been over 1.5 million illegal border crossing so far under President Biden. Small towns at our Southern border are overwhelmed by migrants and a record amount of Fentanyl is pouring into our country. Our border patrol is desperate for support.
Kevin McCarthy: (01:01)
We have an inflation crisis. Americans today are paying more for everyday items then they have in over a decade. More to get to work or drive kids to practice. Businesses are paying more for the materials they need to operate. This all means higher prices for consumers and less money in your pocket. It is a tax on every single American. Then we have a labor crisis created by the Democrats. Small and local business owners can’t find workers. For the workers that now show up, your government is paying others more to stay home. On the screen behind me are the stories that show just how destructive these policies are.
Kevin McCarthy: (01:41)
We have in China crisis. The Democrats hold every lever in our federal government and yet have not made one single move to hold China accountable for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Kevin McCarthy: (01:58)
We have a foreign policy crisis. The Afghanistan hearing this week revealed that the Commander-in-Chief, President Biden, lied to the American public about the recommendations he received from his military advisors. The disastrous and deadly Afghanistan withdrawal will haunt us for decades to come. The democrats are making American life hard, and it’s about to get much worse. So I’m making this promise right here and now. Republicans will investigate our government’s failure to keep us safe at home and abroad. We’ll do this because the consequences of their failures are what the American people deal with every single day. We know that the Democrats are doing everything in their power to prevent Congress from doing real oversight, but that will end the minute Republicans take back the majority.
Kevin McCarthy: (02:53)
The Democrats have forgotten that we’re supposed to focus on the people, not us, but for the past several months that’s what Democrats have done. They have wasted the American people’s time. They’ve lied every step of the way. President Biden said no one making under $400,000 will see their federal taxes go up. That’s a lie just like he lied about Afghanistan. In fact, under his plan an average family who earns over $50,000 will see a tax increase. Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi said this bill would cost $0. Zero. I don’t know if that’s Common Core math or not, but that’s a lie. Their tax and spend plan costs $4.3 trillion dollars. It might not cost nothing to the elites who think they’ll vote for it, but it’ll cost almost every single American their hard earned taxpayer money for it.
Kevin McCarthy: (03:51)
Now Democrats want to spy on anything you buy that costs $600 or more. Government wants to know what you’re doing with your money. By hiring 85,000 new IRS agents to dig through every aspect of your life, the Democrats want to enlist the bureaucratic army to achieve their goal of a big government socialist nation. So instead of waking up to a country in crisis, Democrats are asleep at the wheel and leading us to an unrecognizable future. Our country is in a crisis and it’s time for Democrats to focus on fixing it. With that, let’s open up. Yes ma’am.
Speaker 3: (04:33)
It sounds like Speaker Pelosi is moving forward with bringing the bipartisan bill to the floor. How confident are you that you have enough members that aren’t going to put that over the edge with how hard you guys have been working against it?
Kevin McCarthy: (04:43)
Well the question would be more so for the Speaker. If she was so confident. I thought we were having that vote on Monday. Are we still having that vote today? I’m not sure. We’ll find out.
Speaker 4: (04:57)
The question for you is where are your members? We know what she’s saying. Where do you think your members are?
Kevin McCarthy: (05:02)
I think the majority, an overwhelming amount of our members, they’re going to vote no because they don’t view it as an infrastructure bill. Our conference wants to have an infrastructure. I went to the White House, the Oval Office, and that was exactly what I told the President. We want to build roads, highway, bridges, broadband, airports. We want to [inaudible 00:05:23]. We want to make sure this happens and is built in less than a decade. We want to be able to make sure America is competitive. What we found is we got a bill with nobody on committee on the Republican side working it. We now found that the Democrats, from the President Biden to Bernie Sanders, the budget chairman, to Nancy Pelosi, that it’s no longer one bill. It’s reconciliation with infrastructure. That’s not something we want. That’s not something we can afford and that’s not something reasonable.
Speaker 5: (05:56)
Don Young is the Dean of the House. He’s been around here a long, long time. He says he’s going to vote for this. He says it’s not a perfect bill, but he sees enough that can benefit his constituents, kind of back to Jack’s point. If you’re thinking about every member of your conference representing their constituency, are you confident that you can keep it from going more than eight votes because really Pelosi can only afford to lose [crosstalk 00:06:20]
Kevin McCarthy: (06:22)
I don’t know what her whip count is. I can’t tell you that. All I know is they are the majority. They should have enough votes. I listen to the Speaker claim that she’s having challenges because somehow seats are not full. She’s only one vote short of where a full Congress is at so I don’t know how that’s a challenge. The challenge is how she flip-flops back and forth. And she wanted to have a infrastructure bill. If the president wanted to have infrastructure bill, he should have said it shouldn’t become one. He should have focused just on infrastructure, but what they want to do is restructure and transform America. You just sat through her press conference. This is the culmination of her life’s work in public policy. So it’s not an infrastructure bill. It is one bill and members can see that.
Speaker 5: (07:07)
Just to follow up real quick.
Speaker 6: (07:08)
I was wondering, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I was just wondering, you just mentioned Congress should be focused on holding China accountable for the deaths lost to the virus. Why do you use those words and what is your proposal for how Congress can do so?
Kevin McCarthy: (07:20)
Well, I rolled out a plan a number of months ago. First and foremost, I think we should release all the intelligence that we have to all the nations about where this virus originated from. I think secondly we should be able to have the ability for anyone who lost their lives to hold China accountable be it in the courts, just like we did after 9/11. Thirdly, I think we should make sure that all the nations together should not reward China with the Olympics. There are a number of things that we can do. We should also make sure that the funding of where our money goes, if it goes to a grant or somewhere else for the idea of the studying of what was happening in China, make sure no money goes there ever again. Or to Iran. Or to North Korea and others. I think it’s a reflection [inaudible 00:08:03] but we put a five-point plan out a number of months ago about this so this is nothing new. This is something we want to hold people accountable to. Yes.
Speaker 7: (08:13)
As of today, if the infrastructure bill does not pass, the highway funding runs out.
Kevin McCarthy: (08:17)
It doesn’t have to.
Speaker 7: (08:17)
The Senate’s currently working on a stop gap measure. I wonder if they pass that and get that over to the House, will you be encouraging your members to vote for that stop-gap [crosstalk 00:08:26]?
Kevin McCarthy: (08:25)
Yeah. We have a continuing resolution. Think for one moment, the Democrats control every level. They control the House. They control the Senate. They control the Presidency. Why are we on the last day of government funding, having a crisis? Because they can’t manage it. Why would we even have a crisis about highway funding? Because the Speaker is trying to create one to influence members to vote putting a cliff. And if the Senate passes as a continuing resolution, which why didn’t we do this sooner so America would not be crisis? If they pass a clean CR, and I would like to see Iron Dome in there, but I know the Democrats now in the House and the Senate that Israel is now something that they do not want to support a defensive weaponry to help Israel, and also keep highway funding going. As long as the CR goes and I think the CR should go into December. I would vote for that. Yes. Yes, sir.
Speaker 8: (09:26)
Since you have publicly went against the infrastructure bill, would you be happy today if that bill, the bipartisan bill, does fail?
Kevin McCarthy: (09:35)
Look. What I would like to see an infrastructure bill that builds roads, bridges, highways, broadband, airport, reforms [inaudible 00:00:09:42]. The Republicans put a plan out. But if this plan fails today, let’s go back to the table. Let’s get one put together and let’s take make one that’s an infrastructure bill. Why does everything have to be tied to reconciliation from a debt ceiling? You got to spend 5 trillion more to be able to build a road. That’s not enough? That’s wanting to control everything we do. Now inside this bill, they want to look at any time you spend more than $600 for every single American. Why does the government have a right to know? Why do they? You buy a new car, they have to know? You take your kids to Disney World. They need to know? I don’t think so, but that’s what they want. All encompassing. So when you vote for a reconciliation, if you vote for infrastructure, it’s all one bill based upon what the President says, based upon what Speaker Pelosi said, based upon what Bernie Sanders said. Bernie Sanders is tweeting not to vote for it. Yes sir.
Speaker 9: (10:41)
But then why did he say Republicans still vote for the infrastructure bill then?
Kevin McCarthy: (10:44)
I think that was a different time and a different place. I think that was a while back. It was the Speaker who tied it together. It was the Speaker who said she was [inaudible 00:10:51]. It was the Speaker Pelosi who said yesterday you cannot vote on infrastructure until they get the reconciliation in the language. It was the Speaker who promised the moderates that they would be able to move forward, to deem reconciliation going forward, because they would have a vote last Monday. We didn’t have that vote. Time and again. Unfortunately we’re not in the majority. I would promise you this. If we were in the majority, it would be different. We would have an infrastructure bill just only about infrastructure. I think America would like that.
Speaker 10: (11:23)
So just following up on all of this. Are you whipping the infrastructure vote that Pelosi says she’s planning for today and for members who do vote for it, what would be the consequences? What is your rhetoric going to be like? What is your message about those Republicans?
Kevin McCarthy: (11:37)
That conversation is no different today as it will be tomorrow. Members get elected here. Explain to the members what’s going on. That this bill is fundamentally [inaudible 00:11:46]. If they brought just an infrastructure bill by itself up, you would find overwhelmingly Republicans want to work with you and get funds through.
Speaker 11: (11:59)
One of the members of your caucus, Representative Liz Cheney said earlier this week she was wrong to have opposed same sex marriage. Have your views changed after having opposed same sex marriage?
Kevin McCarthy: (12:08)
Look, same sex marriage is the law of the land and it’s what America holds and that’s the law of the land. There’s no difference.
Speaker 11: (12:15)
What are your views though?
Kevin McCarthy: (12:16)
It’s the law of the land. I support the law of the land. I don’t see how that’s different. I don’t see how that’s news.
Speaker 12: (12:16)
Speaker 13: (12:22)
Democrats have floated changing the debt ceiling process so Congress doesn’t have to vote on it every single time. How do you feel about changing that so Congress doesn’t have to-
Kevin McCarthy: (12:33)
So we can just spend more and more. It’s interesting to me that the credit cards are completely maxed out and the answer that Democrats have is not to find a way to pay them off, but find a way to get another credit card to get a higher limit. Their only action of why they want to raise this is to spend more money that we spent to save us during World War Two. And that’s what they’re fighting for. So they’re creating crisis after crisis to try to force people to vote. They control every level of Congress from Congress, I mean every level of government from Congress to the Senate to the White House. And we’re sitting here on September 3rd when government funding’s going to run out on whether we’re going to get a continuing resolution.
Kevin McCarthy: (13:16)
They got the letter that they went over the debt limit [inaudible 00:13:20]. You got Secretary Yellen saying it’s October 18. But if they pass the bill today, it’s no longer October 18 because of the automatic funding that’s going to go forward. It’s even closer. Why, if you controlled all, why wouldn’t your priority be to have a plan to solve that first? Because they want to create another crisis. It is the one definition of the last election when Democrats took over. It doesn’t matter if it’s the border, Afghanistan, from China to now the simple funding of government from one year to the next, the Democrats have made everything a crisis.
Speaker 14: (13:57)
Isn’t there risk to Republicans, too, if you hit the debt ceiling?