Dec 10, 2020
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Press Conference Transcript December 10
House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy held his weekly press conference on December 10. McCarthy said Nancy Pelosi “sabotaged the COVID relief bill, simply because of an election” and called Rep. Eric Swalwell a “national security threat.” Read the transcript of the news briefing here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Kevin McCarthy: (00:43)
Thank you all for coming. Almost a week ago today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally admitted to what every member standing behind me already knew. She sabotaged the COVID relief bill, simply because of an election. She put politics before people. It was more important for her to hurt President Trump politically, than to help the American people.
Kevin McCarthy: (01:12)
This is the devastation that has happened since Speaker Pelosi sat on a solution. Roughly one in five small businesses have closed. 110,000 American restaurants have already permanently shut their doors. According to a recent survey from the National Restaurant Association, 500,000 restaurants of every business type, franchise, chain and independent are on an economic free fall.
Kevin McCarthy: (01:45)
These are more than just numbers. These statistics tell the story of real people who are fighting like hell for their livelihoods and the livelihoods of their employees. I know what it was like to have a dream, to put everything into a small business and risk it all. I never thought it would be government that shuts you down. But when government made the decision, government also has a responsibility. There’s more than $138 billion still sitting there for small businesses in a PPP program. To pay their employees.
Kevin McCarthy: (02:25)
More than 40 times, the Republicans have brought to the floor, the ability to vote, to bring assistance. More than 40 times, the Democrats have said, no. The speaker said she would keep us here, but she did not. The speaker then called us back for a special session, but it was about the post office. The Republicans brought up relief. It was the Democrats who once again voted, no.
Kevin McCarthy: (02:57)
There are 23 Democrats who signed a letter in September, who warned the speaker, if she continued to play politics and not move forward with COVID relief, that they would sign a discharge petition. I don’t know if I should believe their name on the letter because they have not signed it yet. For an opportunity. I’m not quite sure what the majority leader will say today. Will he send us home? Or will he put the American public first?
Kevin McCarthy: (03:29)
The speaker one week ago admitted that she planned to sabotage and put people out of business simply for her own political beliefs. The election is over. The time is now to work and there’s an opportunity to get it done now. I know more than 40 times, you said no, but today we hope that you will say yes. How many more businesses have to shutter? How many more dreams have to be shattered? How many more people have to be laid off before Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats will act?
Kevin McCarthy: (04:12)
I’ll promise you this. The Republicans will continue to work in good faith, just as we put forth bills again and again that the Democrats have voted no on. Just as we worked with the Senate and the White House. Just as we know there’s an opportunity to help those who need it the most and to stop playing politics. With that, I want to introduce our whip, Steve Scalise.
Steve Scalise: (04:44)
Thank you, Kevin. I strongly agree with the comments that our leader just made. When you look at where we are right now as a country, there are thousands of small businesses that will spend this weekend trying to figure out whether or not they’re going to be able to remain open. Whether their dreams are going to be crushed. Whether the millions of families who rely on those jobs will be able to sustain themselves through Christmas.
Steve Scalise: (05:12)
And during that period, for months now, we have been trying to get a vote on a bill that everybody agrees on. The Shabbat bill that Jaime Herrera Beutler has the discharge petition on is very straightforward. There are a lot of areas where we’re still in disagreement, but one area where we all came together and passed the CARES Act, was that we need to help those small businesses who are struggling, and those families who are wondering whether or not they’re going to have a job to go back to on Monday.
Steve Scalise: (05:38)
We should not be leaving today without passing that Shabbat bill. If it was put on the suspension calendar, it would get, I would recommend, I’d suggest we would get over 400 votes on that bill. There’s wide bipartisan support. And yet, as we see Speaker Pelosi continues to play games. She admitted the other day, as our leader pointed out, that one of the reasons she won’t bring up bills like this is because she’s waiting for a new president.
Steve Scalise: (06:05)
These small businesses don’t have the time to wait on a new president or some political game by the speaker, before they make a decision on whether or not they will close for good. We’ve already lost over a hundred thousand restaurants in America that will never reopen. A third of every single small business in the entire state of New York is gone for good. This is a real issue that we don’t have time to wait on.
Steve Scalise: (06:35)
There’s a long list of areas where we are in disagreement. Every time the president or Secretary Mnuchin or Mitch McConnell put out another plan on the table, all Speaker Pelosi does is says, “No.” She doesn’t come up with an alternative. They continue to play partisan games and people’s lives are at stake. This game has to end. This game of chicken where hostages are being taken. And the hostages are America’s small businesses. The hostages are millions of families who just want to be able to go back to work.
Steve Scalise: (07:05)
The safety protocols are out there. You’ve had some of the smartest minds in medicine said there’s nothing wrong with having safety protocols where you spread people out and have outdoor dining. And yet you’ve got some of these governors across the country that are telling you, you can’t go to your local restaurant, yet they’re going to their favorite restaurant. That hypocrisy by these Democrat governors and mayors has to come to an end. It has to end now. How many times have we seen examples of a governor telling you can’t do something and they’re doing it. A mayor telling you can’t do something, and then they’re caught doing it. A mayor in Cabo telling you not to hang out with your family, when he’s hanging out with his family for Thanksgiving. This is madness. This is insanity. It’s not based on science. If it was based on science, they wouldn’t be doing it. But they’re doing it to control these small businesses, to crush these small businesses. We see what’s going on. Everybody sees what’s going on. The speaker acknowledged it the other day, where she-
Steve Scalise: (08:03)
Going on the speaker acknowledged it the other day, where see, she admits she’s playing games with people because she wants to wait until a new president’s there. She doesn’t want Trump to get credit. This isn’t about who gets credit. It’s about who we can save, who we can help, who needs help. And we’re in agreement on parts of this. Let’s pass the bills that we have agreement on. And there are really good bills that we do. That [Chabot 00:08:23] bill is one example. You could literally save every small business in this country that’s struggling by bringing up that bill and it wouldn’t even add a dime to the deficit. That money, the $138 billion is sitting in an account frozen. And this isn’t a new program. This is a program that’s been wildly successful. Our local banks know who these small businesses are. They need the relief now.
Steve Scalise: (08:42)
They can’t wait another week. I’ve been telling them the majority leader in our colloquy, since September, that this bill is out there and has wide bipartisan support and they don’t deny it. They just point to all the areas where we disagree while they’re holding these small businesses hostage, the game has to end. They need to bring this bill to the floor. And we’re calling on Speaker Pelosi to bring this bill to the floor, to save all these small businesses who are dying on the vine and need this relief. They need the relief today, not next week, not next month, not whenever Pelosi decides to stop playing games. So that’s what we’re calling on the speaker to do. Bring up the Chabot bill. Let’s give the relief to these small businesses who need it now, let’s save those millions of jobs so that they can have their Christmas, like we want everybody else to be able to celebrate this Christmas season. And with that, I’m going to bring up our conference chair, Liz Cheney.
Liz Cheney: (09:39)
Thanks very much, whip Scalise. Every one of us lined up on these steps, every single member on the other side of the aisle, we all represent thousands, thousands of people, thousands of small businesses who are hurting. And when I watch what Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats are doing, there are many things, many times we’ve come up here and raised our issues, raised our disagreements with the speaker in particular. But when I watched this, it is a level of cynicism, a level of willingness to completely ignore the people she represents that I have not seen before. And I think it makes absolutely clear, Speaker Pelosi has been in Congress and has been the speaker for far too long.
Liz Cheney: (10:29)
The American people deserve a House of Representatives that is one that will do what is needed. We are in the middle of a pandemic, we have got small businesses across this nation. We have got ag producers, we’ve got energy producers, we’ve got restaurant owners, we’ve got hospitals, we’ve got people who are suffering. And the speaker of the house seems to think that this is all about sitting in back rooms, negotiating deals, scoring political points. When she says the quiet part out loud and admits she actually is doing that. She actually has delayed getting help to the American people because she was waiting to see if Joe Biden would get elected president.
Liz Cheney: (11:12)
That is what she’s doing. Every single American, every single member of this house, particularly every single member of her party needs to answer the question. And I hope you all will ask them. Do you agree that the speaker of the house is in the right to continue to play politics while people’s businesses are suffering, while people are dying, while our hospitals are suffering, while our agriculture industry is suffering? Every member of her side of the aisle has got to stand up and explain why they think it’s okay, why they think these games are all right, people are hurting, they need help. As our leader said, as our whip said, we have the ability today, right now, instead of voting on bills to legalize marijuana, bills to protect exotic cats, put the bill on the floor that will help small businesses and do it now, it’ll pass.
Liz Cheney: (12:10)
So we’d stand together, calling on this body, calling on speaker Nancy Pelosi to stop sitting on our hands, to stop sitting in front of a refrigerator with the expensive ice cream and to help the American people today. With that, I’m going to introduce the Republican leader of our small business committee, Mr. Chabot.
Speaker 10: (12:33)
Thank you, Liz. I was the chair of the small business committee for two terms and this past term, the ranking member. And I’d like to start off by just saying about half the people who work in America, work for a small business, about 70% of the new jobs created in America are created by America’s small businesses. They’re critical to the American economy. When COVID-19 hit earlier in the year, this institution, the house, the Senate together bicameral and bipartisan, Republicans and Democrats passed the CARES Act and within the CARES Act, the PPP program, the Paycheck Protection Program, it saved over 50 million jobs all across the country, including in my district, in this greater Cincinnati area, I visit over 70 of those businesses. I’ve talked to businesses who would have gone under, who would have had to get rid of all their employees.
Speaker 10: (13:27)
And it’s not just the small businesses again, that you’re trying to help and you are, but it’s those employees, and it’s those families that they support. Well, unfortunately, the Paycheck Protection Program, the doors to that program were shut back in August. And all we need to do is to pass legislation, to reopen those doors, to give small businesses who didn’t get an opportunity to get one in the first round for whatever reason or a business that did, but has revenue decreases of 25%, meaning they’re really hurting and need another loan, give them access to those loans again. We don’t even have to put any more money in the program. There’s already approximately $135 billion just sitting there that we could help these businesses and save those jobs. But as already been mentioned, the speaker, Speaker Pelosi, we all suspected that she wouldn’t bring this up for a vote because even Democrats were for it and all the Republicans were for it.
Speaker 10: (14:27)
Wouldn’t bring it up for a vote because if it passed, it might help President Trump in the election. We suspected that and then she basically confirmed it recently. It’s outrageous to think that politics are standing in the way of helping those small businesses and most importantly, helping those employees and those families who depend upon this. So I want to thank our next speaker, Jaime Herrera Beutler, for her leadership on the Rules Committee and introducing the discharge petition, which would bring my bill, HR 82 65 to the floor, and actually put those Democrats who said they’d support it on the line with all the Republicans and pass this for those small businesses who so desperately need this. So Jaime, you want to talk? Thank you.
Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler: (15:25)
Thank you to leader McCarthy, whip Scalise, chair Liz. And thank you, Steve Chabot for your work on the PPP legislation. Look, we’re here because we want the families and the individuals and the businesses in our districts and across this country to survive and we want them to thrive, but at the very least, heading into Hanukkah, heading into Christmas, we don’t want them sending their team members into the unemployment line. Where, by the way, the unemployment benefits are also stalled. This is ridiculous. That’s all this is about, this is not…
Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler: (16:03)
This is ridiculous. That’s all this is about. This is not a partisan issue. However, we’re the ones stepping up saying, “Nancy Pelosi, the first PPP bridge worked.” Please do not let this become Nancy Pelosi’s bridge to nowhere. We have got to get this passed. It’s important to start by saying the paycheck protection program expired August 8th. And we knew months before that, the date that it was going to expire. We have known for most of this year that this would be a problem. PPP has roughly $135 billion left, sitting there untouched. We don’t have to spend new money, we don’t have to add more money into some sort of a supplemental, it’s there. All we have to do is change the dates to allow those loans to be accessed. That’s it. And the reason that this hasn’t moved is because it’s a political football. Nancy Pelosi has allowed these businesses, these individuals, these families, these single mothers with children… In Clark County, in Southwest Washington, I have over 15,000 single families.
Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler: (17:08)
She’s allowed those people to be a political football in order to get different, more bigger trillions of dollars of more money. Well, what we really need is this targeted relief. We know it’s going to work. In Southwest Washington, in my district alone, this has saved nearly 95,000 jobs. 95, 000 jobs. That’s amazing. Over 10,000 businesses had access to these critical forgivable loans. This again should not be a partisan football.
Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler: (17:39)
House Democratic leadership has shown that they’d rather use the fate of these small businesses as a bargaining chip. It has been admitted. I mean, I’m going to guess most of the folks here suspected it, but she’s admitted it. That’s the reason I filed a discharge petition back in September so we could finally clear the gridlock and get those small businesses the relief that they need to survive the pandemic. This discharge petition is really a tool of last resort. We know it, members on both sides of the aisle, know it, and they’ve used it to go to Nancy Pelosi and say, “We’re going to do this unless you break this log jam.”
Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler: (18:15)
Well, I believe it is time, it’s well past time to break this log jam. Congress must act now. If we’re serious about getting relief to families, individuals, small businesses, we have to support this discharge petition and get Steve Chabot’s PPP legislation reauthorized, reopened up. Families, communities, workers, individuals, they need it, and that’s why we’re here and that’s what we’re about. Thank you. And we are going to have Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer come up next.
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer: (18:49)
Thank you, Jamie. And thank all of you for being here this morning and our leadership team for doing a great job of putting this event together and for Representative Chabot to put his bill together and Representative Herrera Beutler for her hard work on getting a discharge petition together. I’m going to be the new ranking member on small business. Presently I’m the ranking member on FI, the subcommittee that the PPP program came through originally, and we’re going to continue to work on this. This is why we’re here this morning. This is a very, very important program that has proved to be effective, that proved to work, and yet it’s being held up for seemingly no reason except politics, which around here seems to be the course of the day by the speaker.
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer: (19:34)
Back home in Missouri today, 520,000 small businesses that employ 1.1 million people were greeted this morning by continued nothing. They continue to wake up to the familiar news that the majority continues to want to play politics with their lives, the lives of the businesses, and the lives of their businesses’ employees.
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer: (19:55)
This is the eighth legislative day since Thanksgiving, and in that time, the house has passed two bills promoting marijuana and zero to help the workers who have lost their livelihoods through no fault of their own. Meanwhile, governors on the coast are taking a break from their private dinners and book promotions to shut down small businesses and independently owned restaurants, only to watch those customers walk in a Walmart, sit down without a mask and eat a lunch without incident.
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer: (20:27)
The hypocrisy of that is breathtaking. I would say the speaker simply does not understand the real world and effects of bad policy. Just this week as we’ve mentioned a number of times here, she’s proudly announced that she knew exactly what she was doing when she blocked the PPP vote for more than 40 times over the last several months. She was intentionally increasing the pain on small business and their employees with hopes of tanking the economy and hurting the president’s election chances. Ladies and gentlemen, that is not leadership, that is not serving our country. That’s hurting people. The very people we all came here to help and should be working hard for instead of punishing.
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer: (21:13)
Leadership is putting the pizza shop owner in one of my districts counties in St. Charles there, or the hotel worker in Jefferson City or the DNC’s desire to control our lives. Leadership is Steve Chabot and Jamie Herrera Beutler writing a bill that is supported by the members of both parties and pursuing every option to deliver relief to small businesses and tens of millions of people. There’s over $130 billion that’s been stated already left in the PPP. We should be targeting that money to the industries and businesses that need it. We now know as a result of the last several months exactly which businesses we need to be helping, where the biggest pain is, where the biggest struggles are. And those employees of those businesses, we know where that is. We can target this relief.
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer: (21:59)
The money is sitting there. What are we doing? Nothing. Continue to play politics with all this. Enough is enough, I think we need to stop attacking the economic freedom that this country is built on. We need to stop attacking the work ethic that makes us the most successful nation on earth. We need to stop attacking the livelihoods of the people who sent us here to work for them, and American small businesses and the American people deserve so much more. With that, thank you very much. And I think Chairwoman Cheney is going to come and also do some more further introducing of folks. Thank you.
Chairwoman Cheney: (22:39)
Thank you, Blaine. I’d now like to introduce a young woman who… Her name is Sarah White. She’s the chief operating officer of three locations of the Lost Dog Cafe operating not far from here, in Virginia. And she’s going to talk about the real world impact of the decision by the speaker not to move forward on the needed assistance for the American people. So with that, Sarah, I’d like to introduce you.
As a restaurant consultant, my job used to be about running more smoothly, making money often in hopes of operating another location. Over the course of the pandemic, my job’s become how to reduce costs to keep your doors open. Unfortunately, that means reducing staff. As we all try to stay open, we’re having to not only lay off workers, but reduce hours of everyone left. It’s heartbreaking to see our restaurant families being torn apart as we lose people who’ve been with us for many years.
The knowledge that not only will there be no Christmas gifts for them this year, but that they will struggle to pay their rent and buy groceries is taking a toll. PPP funding was a lifesaver in the spring. It allowed us to retain all of our staff, increase training, it helped with implementing so many safety standards for our guests that we continue to use today. Our hope is that Congress will pass some desperately needed funding to allow us to bring back all of our stuff, remain at levels to get through to the other…
To allow us to bring back all of our staff, remain at levels to get through to the other side of this tunnel. We’re here begging for our lives. Please help us keep our restaurants open.
Kevin McCarthy: (24:14)
Thank you, [ Sarah 00:00:16], and just to remind everybody, where does the money go? To the employees. It provides them to be able to go forward. It goes to the small business to pay for rent, utility. Instead of being like the hundreds and thousands that have closed permanently. It gives them hope for a future as a vaccine progresses.
Kevin McCarthy: (24:32)
With that, let’s take a few questions. Yes, ma’am?
Speaker 11: (24:34)
Kevin McCarthy: (24:44)
The President has a right for every legal challenge to be heard, and he has a right to go to the Supreme Court with it, yes.
Kevin McCarthy: (24:50)
Yes, next question.
Kevin McCarthy: (25:06)
Speaker Pelosi was notified. I was not. I’m asking for an FBI briefing now. But if she knew and maintain Swalwell on Intel, wrong. He is a national security threat. He was put on in a second year. I will tell you, as a leader, Intel committee is treated differently. Why? Because those who serve on Intel get information that members do not. For the Republican side, the Republican leader appoints there. For the Democrat side, the Democrats appoint there. And to spend the last four years in Intel, worried about foreign intrusion… Adam Schiff knew as well, to allow Eric Swalwell to sit inside a SCIF, where you do not bring your phones, you do not bring your watch because what is the discussed. He puts the threat of everybody else, of what they’re talking about as well. Why did she allow him to stay on that committee? And let’s hope she does not in the next Congress either.
Speaker 12: (26:07)
Kevin McCarthy: (26:11)
The Democrat leader appoints the Democrat side. The question raises, when did she know, why did she keep him? The same question that Adam Schiff. Did anybody approach Nancy Pelosi to lobby to put a person on their second term in the minority on Intel committee? That’s a question I have to know. Then the next question will arise, why did the Democrats pull out of a bipartisan task force on China, after they agreed they would? This just raises so many more questions.
Kevin McCarthy: (26:45)
Eric Swalwell should take it upon himself to resign from Intel. Knowing what he knew after he was warned by the FBI, he didn’t go to them, they went to him, why did challenge the Director of Intel, John Radcliffe, when he just briefed the American public on the rise of China spying? Why did he challenge that and take China’s side and not America? That begins to raise a question too. And I would hope, the Democrat leadership, it would raise a question for them. It’s an easy one to answer for me. He is a national risk that should not serve on the Intel committee. Swalwell was swindled, and he should be against China now, instead of keep standing up for them.
Kevin McCarthy: (27:33)
Speaker 13: (27:33)
Kevin McCarthy: (27:42)
You get briefed about it. But if you’re on the Intel committee, I think that would be appropriate. What’s interesting to me, this individual actually bundled money to help him get elected. This individual, within a China spy, when as far down into mayors’ offices as well. This is something that you have the Director of Intel, John Radcliffe, warn the American public about is true. But the only person that went to challenge it and to take China’s side was Eric Swalwell.
Kevin McCarthy: (28:10)
Speaker 14: (28:10)
Kevin McCarthy: (28:21)
No, I actually support the plan. That’s actually more money that is supported by the President, supported by the Republican leaders, that would actually go to more people, help more people at a time of need, would put more than $300 billion for small business. Would allow us to use money that’s already appropriated, so to be fiscally responsible at the same time. And to do that now. The only person that’s holding it up, is the same person that’s held it up for the last four months, Speaker Pelosi.
Kevin McCarthy: (28:52)
Speaker 15: (28:52)
Kevin McCarthy: (28:53)
It easily could get done. Which ball? I’m not attending today. Next question. Thank you all very much.
Speaker 16: (29:14)
[crosstalk 00:29:14] Good job. Good afternoon. Thank you, sir.
Speaker 17: (29:24)
[inaudible 00:29:24] seek my face. Jesus [inaudible 00:30:11]. I have good news, if my people [inaudible 00:06:16]. And seek my face and turn from their evil ways.
Kevin McCarthy: (29:24)