McCarthy pushes back against critics

Greg Nash

The newly elected House majority leader on Sunday defended his conservative record against critics and laid out his agenda for the coming months.

On “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace asked Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) about Tea Party criticism that McCarthy is part of the GOP establishment and not conservative enough.

“Check my voting record, check what I believe and look what I’ve done,” said McCarthy, “The point is, when they wanted to bail out Wall Street, I said ‘no’ twice. When they wanted to raise taxes, I said I always said ‘no.’ ”

McCarthy said he was willing to talk about a possible path to legalization on immigration only after U.S. borders have been secured.

“Look at the humanitarian crisis that is happening right now along the border states,” he said. “These are children from three major countries in Central America. They are going across, kids are dying. … It’s because our borders are not secure.”

McCarthy also discussed the Highway Trust Fund, which collects money from fuel taxes to support maintenance of the nation’s highways is expected to become insolvent this summer.

Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) have proposed raising the gas tax to keep the program solvent.

McCarthy said raising taxes is a no-go. Instead, he said the entire program needs to be reformed and federal lands need to be opened for fuel exploration in order to pay for highway construction and maintenance.

And McCarthy spelled out his opposition to the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance American businesses' foreign sales.

While McCarthy supported reauthorizing the bank in 2012, he now says he is for letting the bank’s authorization expire in September.

"We’ve got hearings going on next week in Financial Services [Committee], which I sit on. I think Ex-Im Bank is something government does not have to be involved in, the private sector can do it,” he said.

— This report was updated at 1:34 p.m.