Jul 9, 2020
Kevin McCarthy Press Conference Transcript July 9
House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy held a press conference on July 9. He said he would attend the Republican National Convention (RNC) and that, “We’ll do it in a safe manner.” Read the transcript here.
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Kevin McCarthy: (00:00)
… America. In a sweeping seven to two decision, the Supreme Court upheld an order from President Trump that protected religious groups from violating their deeply held beliefs. Government mandates should never conflict with a citizen’s constitutional rights.
Kevin McCarthy: (00:15)
For the past several months, we have asked our citizens to temporarily change their lives in the fight against this virus. Schools were closed, businesses forced to shut down and millions were left out of work, and although there’s more work to be done, there’s uplifting news and it’s worth celebrating. Record job gains of 4.8 million last month. Over the past two months, 7.8 million jobs have been created. Imagine if this continues, we will have been able to rebuild, restore and renew this country. It’s the path that this president is on. Nearly one third of all jobs lost during shutdown have actually returned. Now, we are not done with our fight against this virus, but we are on the road to rebuild and renew and restore this nation.
Kevin McCarthy: (01:06)
We must now focus on what’s needs to be done for safely reopening our schools and daycare facilities. The question should not be if we open schools in America, but how we want to do it safely. We want to protect the students. We want to protect the schools from liability. We want to give flexibility to the parents in the use of their money. If we have found ways for restaurants, casinos, and others to open, we must find ways for our daycare and our schools to open safely. We cannot miss out on a generation of not being taught. The pediatricians have told us and others the importance of children back to learning in a safe manner, and that’s what our focus should be. I know in this House, Democrats are afraid to meet, but the priority and essentially we should meet so we can work and prioritize how to open these schools and childcare safely. I think that’s what our main focus should be upon. With that, let me open it up for questions. Yes, ma’am?
Speaker 2: (02:11)
I just wonder what your reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling that Manhattan district attorney can subpoena for Trump’s tax returns.
Kevin McCarthy: (02:19)
I haven’t seen the ruling yet, but the Supreme Court made a decision. I’ve watched President Trump abide by all the requests that someone has for financial disclosure, which are much more thorough than any tax returns. It seems to me the New York district attorney and others that have tried for it, it seems much more political than anything else. I think this decision has already been made by the president releasing all of his financial disclosures when he ran for president the first time. Yes?
Speaker 3: (02:51)
I wanted to ask you very quickly, the leader about the Hyde Amendment, and the democratic chairwoman spoke during the HHS appropriation markup for the next year’s suspending bill talking about the Hyde Amendment that they’re going to allow at this time, but putting a warning shot saying that they’re going to do everything in their power to fight it in the coming spending bills.
Kevin McCarthy: (03:13)
The one thing I would see, it is the rule of law. It is what bipartisan people were able to decide upon, even if they had a difference of opinion when it comes to abortion, that you would not take their taxpayer money to be used against. I think if you just even read the Supreme Court decision just this week, it was seven to two. It’s concerning to me what I’m hearing out of the democratic party, the fundamental change they want to make to this nation. That is not the direction that I think the country wants to see. I’ve listened to what Omar said recently. What was the term she used? She was going to dissolve?
Speaker 3: (03:55)
Dissolve, she called it discriminatory and racial injustice.
Kevin McCarthy: (04:00)
Imagine to have a country in the world that would bring a family in that were immigrants born in another nation. They lived in a refugee camp, but come to America and become citizens, and in the first generation get elected to Congress. Would you want to dissolve that nation, or would you want to duplicate that nation around the world? See, America is more than a country. It’s an idea, and we’ve watched in history so many times before that that this idea was so powerful that shipyard workers in Poland in the 80s rose up strong enough to destroy a wall that divided two Germany’s, or even in modern history in Hong Kong to crave the freedom that America has. You see, around the world, they want to duplicate what America believes in, not dissolve it.
Kevin McCarthy: (04:51)
When I sat on the floor and I introduced Mike Garcia, a first generation American, whose father came from another country but became an American. His son graduated from a high school, excelled, had the opportunities that everybody else and was nominated to go to the U.S. Naval Academy. On his own merit, he graduated in top 3% of his class and was able to fly jets, to defend the nation that loved him, that he loved as well. He ran for office not to dissolve America but to duplicate it, so there will be other generations who follow him of all the opportunities that he has. It’s concerning to me that the Democrats look a different path, and that’s an example of what they want to do in the future. Yes?
Speaker 4: (05:40)
Sir, in the same vein of of international students that may be coming to the United States now, we know that the administration has ruled that because of chronic virus, they may not be able to come back in the fall. Do you have any comment on that?
Kevin McCarthy: (05:53)
Well, I think as we look at coronavirus, we want to make sure the safety of all. I know president had to make a very tough decision where others thought that he shouldn’t, but it was the right decision to save many lives about flights from China coming into America, even though China would not allow domestic flights in their own country. So it wasn’t about students coming from another country. It was students within their own country could not fly into Beijing, but they allowed people to leave their country and go to others.
Kevin McCarthy: (06:19)
Fortunately, the president made a very tough decision that saved thousands of lives in America. I think as we walk through this, as this is a special time, but we will welcome students back in as soon as we’re able to welcome these schools to open. Imagine the ability to do that in a safe manner, and the way that you can do that is Congress would focus on it. The number of childcare facilities that have closed, we should focus on the ability for them to open up safely. Then you could open up an economy at the same time. For every parent that’s home watching right now, they are more than a parent. They’ve become the teacher, the coach, the tutor.
Kevin McCarthy: (07:02)
We cannot leave this generation behind and not give them the education that they deserve, so what could we do? Let’s prioritize the schools and the daycares. They can become home daycares in a safe manner. You who runs most of those? Women, minorities and others. You can protect them from liability, so schools will actually have a willingness and a desire to open and not a fear that they’re going to be sued. You can look at the tax code where you could allow parents to save money in a health savings account to utilize that tax-free to pay for daycare. There are so many ways we can do this, but it’s very difficult to do if Democrats are afraid to meet. I think that would be essential that we’d all be here at the same time and work to get this done and prioritize that, and that’s what we should prioritize in our next bill. Yes?
Speaker 5: (07:58)
Do you plan to attend the RNC convention?
Kevin McCarthy: (07:58)
Speaker 5: (08:02)
Do you have any worries about health or safety concerns, given that Jacksonville is now deemed a hotspot?
Kevin McCarthy: (08:08)
I know in speaking to the RNC chair and others, this is something they’re meeting about every day, and no, I’ll be at the convention gladly, and I know we’ll do it in a safe manner. We’ll take the precautions needed. It will probably look different than those in the past, knowing what we’re living through today, but it will be an opportunity to share ideas and do it in a safe manner that we’re distanced from one another at the same time. Yes?
Speaker 6: (08:31)
At the end of the month, the $600 unemployment benefit is set to expire. I know some Republicans have floated the idea of rather than extending that sort of work incentive bonus, but given that in the past couple of days, we’re seeing record number of daily cases of coronavirus added. Is now the time? Is it appropriate to end that unemployment extension in lieu of something that would, again, incentivize people to be out and about?
Kevin McCarthy: (09:01)
So your question, and sometimes people get this wrong. Do you, in the extension of the extra money that the federal government’s paying, and should that be blanket across the country, or should it be based upon the cost of living in different states and others? When we first wrote the bill, there was a short timeframe. We now have more data, more information. That’s why people should come back and actually come to work in Congress instead of this shadow voting. You could have discussions about this. There are a lot of reports and I’ve heard even from Democrats within their own districts, it’s harming small businesses where people are actually getting more money to stay off work than be able to come back. We know it’s important that people have jobs in America and that’s what our focus. That’s why in committee, we should look at this and see what is the best benefit to keep America safe, secure, but actually rebuild the economy that we had the very best in the history of this country before, and we can do it again.
Speaker 6: (09:56)
If I could just follow up?
Kevin McCarthy: (09:57)
Speaker 6: (09:57)
Between now and the end of July, if there’s no sort of agreement reached in terms of how to extend these, are there conversations being had about just extending the $600 benefit beyond July?
Kevin McCarthy: (10:10)
Well, I think the only discussions we’re having right now is an overall package. If we’re going to be gone in August, there are needs. There are liability protection for the schools to go forward. We should be focusing on the schools and the childcare. There’s a need for individuals who are still out of work. These are all things we should look at, and we should not make an excuse that Democrats don’t want to come back and work, so we should just do one thing and extend. No, we should take the data that is out there today and see what is very best for this country, and Congress is essential. Congress should be here working. Unfortunately, the Democrats believe that shouldn’t be the case that they should have some type of shadow voting that they could stay home, still be paid, and not do the job that they’re elected to do. I think that’s wrong. Yes, ma’am?
Speaker 7: (10:52)
Do you think that there should be federal funding withheld from schools that are unable to open at this time or that remain committed to an online learning model through the fall?
Kevin McCarthy: (10:59)
I think there’s different parts in the nation that you’ll find hotspots and others. I think we should take this from the provision, laying out clear guidelines, talking to pediatricians and others, and being able to open those schools that can open. We should lay out the framework, but also in our next bill, we should focus on that from childcare and schools, how do we do it safely? That’s the discussion we should be having and we could have if Congress was back in session. Thank you all very much. Appreciate it.
Speaker 6: (11:26)
Thank you, sir. Thank you.