House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy vows to secure the border, cut government spending and launch tough investigations into the Biden administration if Republicans win the House on Tuesday, reflecting a jumble of priorities as McCarthy is forced to take an increasingly hard line. Pro-Trump conference, eager to impeach President Joe Biden.
In an exclusive and wide-ranging interview with CNN two days before the midterm elections, McCarthy laid out his plans for power, which include tackling inflation, rising crime and border security, three issues that have become central to turning off Republican voters. To hammer home that message, McCarthy — who has been on the fence about the country for the midterms — rallied here Sunday to support a trio of Hispanic GOP women vying to represent key districts along the southern border. the strategy of the party to get the majority.
“The first thing you’re going to see is the border control bill,” McCarthy told CNN when asked for specifics on his party’s immigration plans. “You have to get control of the border. You’ve met almost 2 million people this year alone.”
The Biden administration continues to rely on a Trump-era pandemic emergency rule, known as Title 42, that allows border authorities to turn away migrants at the US-Mexico border. Among the mass migrations in the Western Hemisphere in fiscal year 2022, U.S. border encounters totaled more than 2 million, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. Of those, more than a million were excluded under Title 42.
But McCarthy also highlighted oversight and investigations as top priorities for a GOP-led House, listing possible probes into the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and how the administration has dealt with parents and school board meetings. And he left the door open for the initiation of a temporary impeachment procedure, which some of his members have already begun to request.
“We will never use impeachment for political purposes,” McCarthy said. “That doesn’t mean if something is met it wouldn’t be used elsewhere.”
And with MAGA wingmen calling for funding cuts to Ukraine while GOP defense hawks vow not to abandon the country amid war with Russia, McCarthy tried to reaffirm his support for Ukraine, saying they would not automatically make additional requests. help
“I’m very supportive of Ukraine,” McCarthy said. “I think there should be accountability in the future. … You always need, not a blank check, but make sure the resources go where they are needed. And make sure that the Congress, and the Senate, have the ability to debate openly.”
McCarthy refused to name how many seats the Republicans will get on Tuesday, but he is confident that “at least it will be enough to win the majority.” McCarthy said that in his eyes “anywhere over 20 is a red wave.”
And McCarthy, who had to drop out of the speaker’s race in 2015 due to opposition from the House Freedom Caucus, told CNN he believes he will have support from both his own and his conference to secure the coveted speaker’s baton this time around. Former President Donald Trump.
“I’m going to believe we’re going to have speaker votes, yes,” McCarthy said. “I think Trump will be very supportive.”
On the issue of migrant arrivals at the border, McCarthy said there are “a number of different ways” his majority would tackle the problem, but said Republicans won’t introduce a bill to fix the broken immigration system until the border is secure.
“I think you have to have ‘Stay in Mexico’ immediately,” he said, referring to the controversial policy that forced migrants to stay in Mexico.
To help stem the flow of fentanyl across the border, McCarthy said, “first you do a very frontal attack on China to prevent the poison from coming in,” and then “give the border agents the resources they need” and “make sure it’s fentanyl.” anyone who wants to move, you can sentence to death.’
When asked to detail his plans to fight crime, McCarthy said Republicans would fund the police, provide funding for hiring and training, and look at how crimes are prosecuted. And he said they would reduce inflation and gas prices, cut government spending and make America more energy independent, though he didn’t name specific bills.
Most of the bills will be primarily messaging efforts, unlikely to pass a presidential veto or the Senate’s 60-vote threshold, though they would need to pass legislation to fund the government and raise the national debt limit next year. McCarthy, however, indicated that Republicans will demand spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, creating a dangerous fiscal prospect that could lead to debt cancellation.
“If you’re going to give a person a higher limit, wouldn’t you first tell them you need to change your behavior, so you’re not lifting and lifting all the time?” he said “You don’t have to say, ‘Oh, I’ll let you keep spending the money.’ No house should do that.”
McCarthy acknowledged that Republicans were willing to raise Trump’s debt ceiling, but said the calculation is different now that Democrats have spent trillions of dollars under Biden.
When asked if he was willing to risk default using the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip, McCarthy insisted it would not happen: “People talk about risk. You don’t risk defaulting.’
In addition to the work to regain the majority, McCarthy has also campaigned to win the speaker’s gavel. And a key part of that strategy has been to elevate potential critics and Trump’s controversial allies.
To that end, McCarthy has vowed to reinstate Georgia’s new chairwoman, Marjorie Taylor Greene, to her committee duties, even though Democrats stripped her of her duties last year because of her inflammatory remarks.
Meanwhile, McCarthy reiterated his intention to oust Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., from his seat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Asked if there are any restrictions on what committees Green can serve on, McCarthy – who will have a direct say in handing out those tasks – said “no”. Green told CNN he wants a seat on the House Oversight Committee, which will play a key role in the GOP-led majority investigations.
“He will have committees to serve on, just like every other member… Members ask for different committees and as we go through the board of directors, we will look at it,” he said. “He can give whatever committee he wants, just like any other member of our conference, whoever is elected.”
Greene isn’t the only member to spout conspiracy theories or inflammatory rhetoric. Recently, some Republicans have mocked the brutal attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, or peddled conspiracy theories about the incident.
Asked for his message to those Republicans, McCarthy said, “What happened to Paul Pelosi is wrong, and I think we shouldn’t get into this rhetoric.”
But when pressed about how he would crack down on that kind of rhetoric, McCarthy pointed a finger at Democrats.
“The first thing I will ask the president is not to call half the nation stupid or say things about them because they have a difference of opinion,” he said. “I think leadership matters, and I think it probably starts with the president. And it will also start from the speaker.”
Asked again how he would handle members of his own party who peddle dangerous conspiracy theories, McCarthy replied, “I’ve seen people on both sides of the aisle,” he said. “If I am the speaker, I will be the speaker of the entire House. So it won’t be just Republicans. We will also look at the Democrats.”