Sep 17, 2020

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Press Conference Transcript September 17

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Press Conference Transcript September 17
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsHouse Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Press Conference Transcript September 17

House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy held his weekly press conference on September 17. Read the transcript here.

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Kevin McCarthy: (00:00)
California to see the fires. I hope she would stop and see the sheriffs as well. Not sure if she raised money for a reward to find who did this, I know she raised money to bail out the riders. And I know also that 13 of those staff members on Joe Biden’s campaign did as well. Not sure if they’re still on his campaign, but I have not heard whether they left. I know you just had a press conference with the Speaker of the House. She happens to be from my home state. I don’t know if you asked her about the ambush and the shooting of those two sheriffs, but I know when she was asked before, she said, people will do what they do. I’m not sure if she changed her opinion or condemned the action as well. Maybe that’s a question you can ask her.

Kevin McCarthy: (00:46)
This majority under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi has to be one of the weakest congressional terms in history. They carried out the most partisan rushed impeachment in the US history. Chris Rock has said, focusing on the impeachment, they let the pandemic come in. They support defunding our police and shrinking our military budget and they have repeatedly delayed relief for the American people. The Democrats failures continue. This week we learned 60% of the businesses that shut down during the pandemic, nearly 100,000 businesses, have closed permanently. Now, as Republicans, we tried to use the so-called emergency session back in August to help our small businesses and replenish them with a successful paycheck protection program. We made that when Speaker Pelosi called us back for that emergency meeting on the post office, you know, prior to our departure where she said we would not leave until we had a COVID relief bill, and saying that none would come to the floor through the majority, we used the motion to recommit to do that. Unfortunately, the Democrat majority voted it down.

Kevin McCarthy: (01:59)
Americans still need relief for the economic fall out of this pandemic response. Congressional Republicans have come to the table with a targeted proposal. Democrats continue to delay COVID relief to pursue an unrelated liberal agenda. We know Chinese continue to spy and are actively attempting to sabotage our vaccine research. I actually produced a bill to sanction anyone after the reports from the FBI that Iran, Russia, and China were trying to hack into our companies, our universities, to steal the vaccine. In doing so, they slowed the process for a vaccine down. Just so happens when we introduced the bill, put it on the floor, do motion to recommit, that day two Chinese were found to do this. Again, the Democrats had an opportunity to stop that activity. You know what they did? They voted it down.

Kevin McCarthy: (02:56)
After being away for weeks, here’s what the Democrats decided to make a priority this week instead of doing those. Renaming post offices, advocating for the pot industry, continuing to perpetuate the postal service conspiracy theory, and today they’re debating a resolution condemning words they use themselves to name their own hearing. Think about that. Democrats called one of their own hearings the Wuhan Coronavirus: Assessing the Outbreak, and now the entire chamber is spending hours debating this issue. The few hours we have before people leave to go to the airport.

Kevin McCarthy: (03:40)
I wonder about those small businesses that have closed permanently. With every delay from Speaker Pelosi and with every COVID package that we had produced there has been one common denominator. I remember from the very first time I flew back on a red eye, when the Senate had an agreement, Schumer announced it. She came into the room to slow it down for another week. Or when they’re so successful PPP program went out to small businesses, so successful that we knew they would need money by the rapid response that was going out so the Secretary requested more money. We all remember where we were that moment she stood in front of her refrigerator with her ice cream, telling the country on a late night show that she said, no. How many of those 100,000, were part of that delay, or now when we need it so badly?

Kevin McCarthy: (04:44)
You know, I was majority leader. You have the ability to schedule the floor. You spend time looking at the bills, deciding what comes forth. This is what we spent our hours on today. Their priorities are out of sync with the needs of the American people. Instead of failing America, Republicans stood up to make a commitment to America. If you watched us on the steps this week, we made a commitment to America and what we’re doing now and what we would do in the future. We believe that we can renew our way of life, defeat the virus and keep America healthy.

Kevin McCarthy: (05:24)
We do that by developing a vaccine that is safe and effective. We do that by protecting preexisting conditions, tripling the rapid COVID testing, lowering prescription drugs. We do that by making our streets safe and secure, by not defunding of the police, but actually adding 1.75 billion for police training, community policing, and 500,000 body cameras. We’ll rebuild the greatest economy, adding 10 million new good paying jobs. We do that by expanding PPP instead of holding it back for the small businesses. We do that by expanding the child tax credit, the 2000 we’ve already given, also protecting the opportunities zones and providing more tax relief so you have more money in the take home pay.

Kevin McCarthy: (06:20)
We also do that by ending our dependency on China. Have we not learned through this COVID experience the damage of the dependency on China has caused us. Let’s bring that supply chain back home, creating more US jobs right here, building our own medical supplies here. We don’t make penicillin or vitamins anymore, but we should. Then we have a plan to upgrade our infrastructure, making sure every house has internet, a five-year plan that rebuilds our roads, our bridges, our airports. We also believe we can renew the American dream to make sure every child goes to an excellent school. Those are the things we’d spend our time on this floor, but unfortunately that’s not what we did today.

Kevin McCarthy: (07:12)
There’s already efforts underway to make a difference. The Democrats don’t want to provide help for those 100,000 businesses now that are permanently out, but Republicans will. Yesterday House Republicans, led by Steve Shabbat and Jamie Herrera Butler introduced a discharge petition to help small businesses access billions of dollars in relief. We urge all of our colleagues to sign the petition, to join us in fighting for small businesses. I know there are a few Democrats out there who are very upset with Nancy Pelosi. I think they could do something better. They can sign the discharge petition. They voted for her for speaker. They allow her to continue to be the leader, but do they just say these things because it’s close to an election? Do they just say these things to lie to their own constituents? Now is an opportunity to show that they really mean what they say. Let’s see how many sign the discharge petition, because I think Americans are fed up with political posturing and empty words. They want action and Republicans are ready to lead. With that, let me take questions. And unlike Speaker Pelosi, I guess I don’t pick and choose what you ask. I can’t believe you allow her to do that, but so be it. Yes.

Speaker 2: (08:28)
Peter McCarthy, who do you trust on COVID science, Dr. Redfield or the President?

Kevin McCarthy: (08:34)
I will tell you this. I spent time yesterday with Dr. Slowey, the chief scientific advisor. Very, very impressed with Secretary Azar as well. And listening to them, listening to the companies that are building our vaccines right now, Dr. Slowey has done 14 vaccines. He is probably premier individual in the entire world. We’re going to have a safe and effective vaccine this year. And listening to the preparation of what we’ve been able to do with Operation Warp Speed, to be able to deliver it when that time comes if I just take the words from the CDC and the President, the President is right.

Speaker 2: (09:14)
But-

Kevin McCarthy: (09:15)
But what?

Speaker 2: (09:16)
But there’s mixed messages coming from this administration. You have Dr. Redfield on the one hand saying one thing about the virus timeline or the vaccine timeline and masks, and you have the President undercutting him. So who are Americans to trust?

Kevin McCarthy: (09:30)
Okay, well, let me take your question. You say Redfield said one thing, the President said the other. What I think has happened here because of Operation Warp Speed, things are moving so quickly that we are able to do things that we haven’t done before, but making sure we test every ability of going forward so it’s safe and it’s effective. I think one of those two individuals had more information than the other, and that was the President. So what you should do is actually asked the question to Dr. Slowey, who’s in charge of this, who is the advisor to what’s happening. Who’s working every single day with the eight companies that are building the vaccine.

Kevin McCarthy: (10:11)
Now let’s take a for instance, let’s go outside of the framework of the people that you just asked me. I watched a CEO of Pfizer, tell the public, not government, that he thinks this is going so well, they may even have it and gave you a date in October. Now they are the ones who are building it right now. So I would probably go to the source. I don’t blame Dr. Redfield. He just was not updated. I think he probably needs to be updated.

Speaker 2: (10:38)
So the vaccine will be widely available to all Americans in October, November?

Kevin McCarthy: (10:42)
You know, the unique things, when we sit back and study this of how we were able to build the vaccine safe and effective, creating the dosage and the distribution center ahead of time and doing that now, you are going to have the ability for the dosage to come out to people as soon as it is safe. Yes.

Speaker 3: (11:03)
Are you going to bring a motion to vacate, to oust Pelosi from her chair?

Kevin McCarthy: (11:08)
I do not want Nancy Pelosi to be speaker, but I do not want Nadler to be chair. I do not want Schiff to be chair and I do not want Maxine Waters. 40 some days from now, we will remove them.

Speaker 4: (11:20)
Thank you, sir. So Problem Solvers introduced legislation earlier this week, that was still not legislation. They introduced ideas for a bill that’s more bi-partisan. And then the President tweeted that they would accept, he said, “Push for much higher numbers.” What is the number that House Republicans can get behind?

Kevin McCarthy: (11:37)
You know what’s interesting. I always look at what’s in the bill. I know what this country needs. We don’t need to start with the number. We need to start by working. It’s interesting to me that when the Speaker Pelosi said to all of us, we would not leave until we get a COVID bill, but she sends all home, but then she calls us back on an emergency for the post office. So during that time, the only power the minority has is to move a motion to recommit and we did. And what do we spend our time on? We spent ours on COVID relief. What did they do? They voted it down. This week we come back after being gone for all this time with watching Speaker Pelosi talk about how hard she is stopping everything once again. The common denominator here in every COVID relief package we have done, Speaker Pelosi has either slowed or delayed the action.

Kevin McCarthy: (12:26)
You begin to wonder why. Why would someone do that in an election year? Why would somebody do that when people are being hurt? Why would somebody do that when her own members of her own party feel that it’s hurting them, it’s hurting their constituents, but more important, maybe it even hurts them in their election? I think knowing her well, she cares more about politics than she does about the people and that’s unfortunate. That’s why she should not be fit for that job.

Speaker 5: (13:01)
Do you agree with the Trump’s assertion this morning that “the election result may never be accurately determined”? If so, what evidence do you have support that? And just more broadly, do you think it’s appropriate for the President of the United States to be sowing doubts about the election or making such grave accusations?

Kevin McCarthy: (13:20)
I have not read the tweet. If you want to read it again, look at every election, we have concerns. This one’s a little different, and I’ve raised this many times before, and it’s not from any basis of anything other than a person who cares about an honesty in election. There is a difference between an absentee ballot and all mail ballots. I was just with a friend down in Texas. I have a lot of friends in Texas now, and I’ve never grown up in Texas. All my friends in Texas had moved from California. This one had moved more than six years ago. And when I went to see him for dinner, you know what he handed me, the absentee ballot California had mailed him, that he moved more than six years ago.

Kevin McCarthy: (14:03)
Los Angeles County has actually been ordered by the courts to clean up their roles. They have more than 1.5 million people on it who do not live there. When you request an absentee ballot, you have to request, you have to sign your name. So they check your signature based upon your voter registration. There’s a check and an authenticity to realize, to have a trust in election. I just watched an LA County couple pleaded guilty to election fraud. We started out this Congress by not seeding a member who won an election because Democrats were concerned and those in North Carolina, that there may have been harvesting of absentee ballots. And now we’re going to an election, not just for the House, but for the Presidency to something like we have not heard before, where many states are just giving an all mail ballot. We watched what happened in New York when they tried to do this. How many thousands of ballots were rejected? So I think the President has a very good point.

Kevin McCarthy: (15:02)
I don’t think it’s just the president’s point, I think it’s a lot of across America. So my answer, apply for an absentee, mail your ballot in our go to the polls. Many states will have, when you mail an absentee ballot in that you can trace your ballot electronically and see whether it’s being opened or not. You want to make sure your vote counts, but the last thing you want to see that there’s fraud in it. You know, I’ve read in the paper about these concerns that the FBI has, that you have China, much more sophisticated than any other country outside that has problems trying to do something in elections. And they’ve actually determined, they say, who they want to win. They want Joe Biden. And when you compound that, which is a sophistication and just ballots being thrown out everywhere, instead of not even know where the person lives there or not, or the person’s alive or not, that raises a lot of concerns to a lot of people. Yes.

Speaker 6: (16:00)
So Donald Trump has been nominated for two Nobel peace prizes, one for the Israel/UAE, and one for Serbia/Kosovo. Do you think that he is deserving of these awards?

Kevin McCarthy: (16:09)
Yeah, I do. When I was on the lawn watching that, it was a very moving moment. Think for one moment, not one country, but two recognizing Israel. Think for a moment of how much the world has spent on trying to find peace in the Middle East. It’s not a Republican or Democrat issue. It’s an issue for all of the world, to keep it safer. I think it’s something we would all celebrate regardless of who was able to achieve it. And I think it was only because of President Trump took new eyes and new thought to it, that didn’t try the same old way in the same old place. I would have thought, just as the White House did, opened an invitation to so many people who care about the Middle East on both sides of the aisle in the House. But you know what Speaker Pelosi did? She called votes at the moment of time that we could watch three countries that did not recognize each other before, sign a document because of the power of this administration to bring the world a little safer. And she called it, what, a distraction?

Kevin McCarthy: (17:28)
What did Adam Schiff call it when we closed down the consulate in Houston? People think it was the hub of spying, a diversion, right? Or what did Adam Schiff say on the floor when we wanted to stop the hackers for getting our vaccine? He said, it’s not China’s responsibility is to tell us about the virus. They are so out of step. Can they not move politics out and put what’s good for the American public first? I guess the answer to that question I see today. Are we going home? Are we staying here to do COVID relief? Is Nancy Pelosi only concerned about COVID relief when she’s on television and says we will not leave and then sends us all home? Or she’s going to do everything in her power and she’s going to waste our time on that floor debating a nonbinding resolution. I guess the answer is very clear. Yeah, that’s what they’re going to do. Yes, sir.

Speaker 7: (18:26)
I was wondering if you would comment on Attorney General Bill Barr’s remarks on the lock downs being the greatest intrusion on American civil liberties, other than slavery. Would you agree with that assessment?

Kevin McCarthy: (18:37)
I had not heard of that. So I don’t know anything about it. Yes.

Speaker 8: (18:42)
Democrats are outpacing Republicans in key battleground states and requesting absentee ballots and mail in ballots. Are you concerned at all that Republicans are losing the turnout battle, especially among senior citizens in part due to the President’s rhetoric?

Kevin McCarthy: (18:58)
The publicans to vote by mail and they’re absentee. I want them to go to the polls, not do both, do one or the other. Make sure you get your vote in. It’s just part of campaigning and every election goes that way, but we got our work cut out for us, rightfully so. People should fight to be able to have the opportunity to lead this nation. It is a privilege and you should not waste a moment, which is why it’s so shocking to me that the Democrats fought so hard to get the majority and then they wasted their moment on impeachment.

Kevin McCarthy: (19:39)
Even Chris Rock has a grave concern that they wasted on impeachment allowed the coronavirus come to America, or they just wasted our moment while a 100,000 small businesses permanently closed on doing a nonbinding resolution, or they wasted our moment by making an emergency for all of us to come back to be concerned about a post office that had the ability to have $25 billion on hand already. And when a COVID relief bill came up, they voted it down or they wasted the moment to show America that we will do everything we can to keep them healthy and safe by having a vaccine that is safe and effective, that stopping any nation, no matter who they are, that would try to hack into our companies, but they voted that down. Are they so blinded that they will harm the average American citizen, each and every one of us, simply because they want a political gain?

Kevin McCarthy: (20:45)
That’s not what I think of when I think of people who want to lead and run. It’s not what I think of when I think of the history of people who walk these halls. And that’s why we’ve made a commitment to America. You can go to our site, commitmenttoamerica.com. You can see if this is what you want to have happen in these halls of Congress, that your voice is heard, that we will renew the American dream, that we will rebuild the biggest economy on earth and we will restore our way of life. Thank you.