McCarthy dings omnibus ‘pet projects’ in lengthy speech
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Friday gave an approximately 25-minute floor speech opposing a $1.7 trillion omnibus government funding package, his final show of opposition to the funding bill before its expected passage later that day.
“This is a monstrosity. That is one of the most shameful acts I’ve ever seen in his body,” McCarthy said. “The appropriations process has failed the American public, and there’s no greater example of the nail in the coffin of the greatest failure of a one-party rule of the House, the Senate and the presidency.”
McCarthy criticized Democrats’ often-repeated statement that they will put “people over politics,” pointing to various ”left wing pet projects” funded in the omnibus bill — some of which are named after members.
“They cared so much about the people that Senator [Patrick] Leahy [D-Vt.] gets numerous projects named after himself. Because people wanted that,” McCarthy said “[Sen. Richard] Shelby [R-Ala.] gets something named after him, too. Oh, Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.], she gets a couple of things that are named after her, because the people are more important than the politics. Because that’s what the people of America want right now.”
McCarthy had mounted a strong show of opposition to the omnibus package leading up to the vote, arguing that Republican senators should force a continuing resolution to fund the government until Republicans take control of the House next year and can negotiate a smaller funding package.
Earlier in the week, McCarthy endorsed a threat from hard-line members to thwart bills from senators who vote for the omnibus package, pledging that those bills would be “dead on arrival” if he is Speaker.
He also joined a Senate GOP lunch to lobby senators against the omnibus this week. Sources told The Hill at the time that his rhetoric was toned down from his public remarks.
Eighteen GOP senators voted in favor of the omnibus on Thursday.
House rules limit speaking time for members during debate, but party leaders are generally permitted to speak for as long as they want on the floor. That so-called “magic minute” is often used for leaders to make a point or take a stand about legislation.
Friday marked McCarthy’s fifth-longest floor speech, coming in behind a marathon 8 1/2-hour speech against the “Build Back Better” bill last year, a 50-minute speech against the Inflation Reduction Act in August, and a 28-minute speech opposing a domestic chip manufacturing and scientific research funding bill in July.
The chamber was mostly empty for McCarthy’s speech, with more than half of the members filing paperwork to vote by proxy ahead of the Christmas holiday and a massive winter storm spanning much of the country. But several GOP members sat directly behind McCarthy in view of the camera for the speech, including Reps. Kelly Armstrong (N.D.), Tim Burchett (Tenn.), Stephanie Bice (Okla.) and Andrew Clyde (Ga.).
Some GOP members who have withheld support from or opposed McCarthy becoming Speaker of the House were also in the chamber out of view of the cameras, including Reps. Chip Roy (Texas), Scott Perry (Pa.) and Ralph Norman (S.C.). Roy and Perry stood and applauded after McCarthy’s speech.
But Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Rules Committee, made a dig at McCarthy’s Speakership match troubles.
“After listening to that, it’s clear he doesn’t have the votes yet,” McGovern said.
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