Regular readers of CHQ will recall we have been Kevin McCarthy sceptics ever since the laidback Californian rose to the senior ranks of the House Republican leadership. We’ve
been tough on him and wake up every morning expecting the House GOP to revert to its traditional John Boehner – Paul Ryan pattern of meaningless “show votes” and conservative rhetoric, followed by quick cave-ins on the issues that matter most to conservatives.
However, to our continuing astonishment, Speaker McCarthy has not only kept the House Republican Conference together on the conservative agenda items to which he committed during the battle to confirm him as Speaker, he’s turned into an articulate spokesman for the larger conservative worldview.
And during a recent press gaggle the Speaker didn’t hesitate to put the blame for the debt ceiling squarely where it belongs – on Joe Biden and the Democrats.
“The president - he didn't talk to us for 97 days. So don't blame me for reaching out to the Democrats, for begging the president to meet with me,” Speaker McCarthy remarked according to reporting by the UK’s Daily Mail.
“Every Democrat voted against raising the debt ceiling. Nothing has happened in the Senate. I'm not a senator. I don't control the Senate,' the Speaker told reporters as negotiations continued with no give on the part of Democrats.
Capping spending increases to one percent and strengthening work requirements for welfare programs like SNAP, TANF and Medicare were “Democrat ideas,” noted the Speaker.
“That's something Senator Biden voted for that President Clinton signed into law. That was a Democrat supported idea too. So, it's not my fault that the Democrats today have become so extreme, far to the socialist wing, that they are now opposed to work requirements. That they are now opposed to saving $1 less than we spent a year before.”
McCarthy also taunted Democrats for failing to lift the debt ceiling when they had control of the White House, House and Senate.
“Democrats, they could have lifted the debt ceiling prior to me becoming speaker. They knew the outcome of the election already. They knew we were taking power,” he said, according to the Daily Mail’s report.
“They passed an omnibus bill, but they decided not to do the raising of the debt ceiling, even though they thought people should just raise it cleanly,” McCarthy noted.
What’s more Speaker McCarthy has maintained message discipline by reiterating that Republicans want to spend less than the country spent in 2023. Asked how much less, he said, "That’s part of the negotiating. Democrats don’t even want to spend less, they want to spend more."
And the payoff for Speaker McCarthy’s transition from what conservatives were afraid would be a Paul Ryan-lite to an effective spokesman for the conservative agenda has been a big bump in the polls.
(Image from Steve Moore’s must-read Committee to Unleash Prosperity Hotline)
The Capitol Switchboard is (202-224-3121) we urge CHQ readers and friends to call Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and your Representative. Tell them to #HoldTheLine on the House-passed Limit, Save, Grow Act to bring federal spending into line with federal tax collections and to stave-off any risk of federal default.
Mike Lee Letter
debt ceiling default
work requirements for welfare
Limit, Save, Grow Act