McCarthy says regulatory pain was formative to his politics

House Majority Leader-elect Kevin McCarthy says the burden of regulations helped inspire his political views.

The California Republican, appearing over the weekend on "Fox News Sunday," was asked what drew him to the GOP.

McCarthy, who famously launched a delicatessen at age 19 after winning $5,000 in the state lottery, cited his first days as an employer.

“And I soon learned if you're a small-business owner, you're the first one to work, the last to leave, the last to be paid,” he said. “You learn what regulation does to your business and the challenges. You wonder where common sense is.”

McCarthy, who ultimately sold the deli to pay for his college education, said the experience helped to shape his views about the proper role of government in the marketplace.

“You know, if I failed, I didn't expect government to bail me out,” he said. “But if I succeeded, I didn't expect government to take my taxes.”

While hardly a revelation, the remarks come as industry and business groups watch closely for clues about what the Majority Leader McCarthy-era might look like in the House.

Business lost an ally with the ouster of current Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who was defeated earlier this month in a surprise primary upset.

While lamenting the loss, groups including the Chamber of Commerce, vowed to press on with their agenda, which includes an aggressive campaign against President Obama’s regulatory offensive. 

Given that strategy, McCarthy’s comments likely are not going unnoticed. He will formally ascend to the No. 2 spot in the House Republican Conference next month.