McCarthy rips GOP-led Senate

McCarthy rips GOP-led Senate
© Greg Nash

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) unloaded Friday on the Republican Senate, arguing the chamber is standing in the way of progress on conservative priorities such as tax reform and repealing ObamaCare.

“What’s stopping us is the Senate,” McCarthy told host Martha MacCallum on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom.”

“In the House the latest metrics show this is the second-most productive Congress with any Republican minority,” he said.

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McCarthy, who is seen by some conservatives as a possible successor to John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerThree Republicans battle to succeed Meadows at House Freedom Caucus What insurgent Dems can learn from the Democratic Study Group Feehery: 5 reasons Pelosi should be Speaker MORE as Speaker, said he agrees with the criticism that Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDems have new moniker for Trump: ‘Unindicted co-conspirator' John Kelly’s exit raises concerns about White House future Rubio: We don’t need direct evidence crown prince ‘ordered the code red’ on Khashoggi killing MORE (R-Fla.) leveled at the Republican Congress during Wednesday night’s presidential debate.

“If there’s one thing I have more frustration on than Chris Christie and more than Marco Rubio, it’s that the Senate has got to work,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy specifically took aim at the Senate rules, where 60 votes has become the standard for passing most legislation.

“We all watched ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’ and we understood what a filibuster is — you stood on the floor and talked,” he said.

“Today, that’s not the case,” McCarthy said. “Inside the Senate you have to have 60 votes instead of a majority.”

“You know what? That’s not in the Constitution. That’s a rule.”

Conservatives in the House have been pressing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKey Senate Republican: Criminal justice reform needs more GOP support GOP tensions running high on criminal justice bill Trump flubs speech location at criminal justice conference MORE (R-Ky.) to use the “nuclear option” to change the Senate rules and end filibusters for legislation. McConnell, a staunch defender of Senate tradition, has rejected taking that step.

Calls for ending the filibuster flared again this week after Senate Democrats blocked action on a resolution disapproving the Iran nuclear deal. Fifty-seven House Republicans sent a letter to McConnell this week urging him to change the Senate's rules.

“Our request to eliminate the filibuster for some votes simply underscores that in a democracy the majority should decide,” the letter said. “The super-majority now required to advance legislation is 60 votes, which is not serving our country well.”

McCarthy, who did not sign the letter, said Senate Republicans shouldn’t allow Democrats to stand in the way of rolling back the Iran deal.

“The Senate cannot allow a simple minority to hold and let Iran have a nuclear weapon,” he said.

McCarthy has called on the Senate to change its filibuster rules in the past.

He previously urged the chamber to do so in March, during the fight over funding for the Department of Homeland Security and President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

His latest criticism of the Senate comes at a time of high intrigue, with a bloc of House conservatives threatening to vote against any legislation funding the government that includes money for Planned Parenthood.

Democrats, meanwhile, are demanding a “clean” funding bill that preserves the funds.

One prominent conservative, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), has signaled to BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerThree Republicans battle to succeed Meadows at House Freedom Caucus What insurgent Dems can learn from the Democratic Study Group Feehery: 5 reasons Pelosi should be Speaker MORE (R-Ohio) that his job is on the line this fall. How Boehner handles a number of controversial issues, including Planned Parenthood, could determine whether a formal resolution to remove him as Speaker hits the House floor, Meadows told The Hill.

With chatter about a leadership change growing, McCarthy and another possible candidate for the top job, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJohn Kelly’s exit raises concerns about White House future Election hacking will come to a ‘breaking point,’ says Dem strategist Webb: GOP must play prevent defense MORE (R-Wis.), issued a statement to Politico this week pledging their full-throated support for Boehner to continue as Speaker.

Meanwhile, McCarthy and other GOP leaders are still seeking a path forward for funding the government and avoiding a shutdown.

“It’s a long-term battle from where we go,” McCarthy said on Fox. “We will pass a bill that funds the government and puts a moratorium on this.”