McCarthy blasts Democrats’ campaign arm for ads against Republicans on coronavirus response

Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Tuesday blasted the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) for running ads against Republican House members over the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus, accusing Democrats of playing politics as the U.S. faces a potential health crisis.

The California Republican argued that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) should have brought a supplemental funding bill to address the looming pandemic to the floor last week. He added that Republicans don’t have control of the floor and, therefore, should not be subjected to attacks the matter.

“We are not in the majority, we cannot determine the floor so Speaker Pelosi left and had us leave Congress. This week, we hope we’re able to bring it up,” he told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.

“And why now is … the DCCC running ads against seven Republicans on something they could not vote on?” he added. “Are they playing politics and holding the money up so their political arm can attack Republicans on this issue? Can they for one time put people before politics?”

McCarthy also called on Pelosi to issue an apology and for the DCCC to refrain from running the ads, adding that GOP lawmakers are working to make sure the resources needed to combat the virus from spreading are available.

“I think they owe the American public an apology. I think the Speaker needs to apologize, Cheri Bustos needs to take those ads down and stop playing politics with this. America is nervous, we’ve been preparing for years in advance,” he said, referring to the DCCC chairwoman, a Democratic representative from Illinois.

“We’ve got to make sure we have all the needed resources there so bring the bill to the floor. You’ve seen Republicans in every single meeting, trying to work through this to get this done now. You do not see ads coming out for Republicans, but we do see from the Democratic Congressional Committee,” he added. “I don’t believe anybody should be a part of [these] attacks … it’s not a partisan issue.”

A DCCC spokeswoman shot back, arguing Republicans are playing politics with coronavirus.

“Leader McCarthy should be embarrassed that he cares about more his political fortunes than ensuring working Americans can afford an eventual coronavirus vaccine,” Robyn Patterson said in a statement.

“Washington Republicans are already blocking bipartisan House-passed legislation to bring down the cost of prescription drugs,” Patterson added. “It’s disgraceful that their obedience to drug manufacturers is holding up the government’s response to a virus that threatens millions of Americans.”

The comments come one day after the DCCC announced the ads, which would be running on Facebook in both English and Spanish. The ads take aim at Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar’s comments, referring to an affordable coronavirus treatment, during a hearing last week that the administration “can’t control that price because we need the private sector.” 

“The Trump administration would rather pad the pockets of drug manufacturers than provide access to an affordable coronavirus vaccine,” the ads say.

The House is expected to vote on a supplemental coronavirus funding package this week.

—This report was updated at 12:25 p.m.

Tags Cheri Bustos Coronavirus Kevin McCarthy Nancy Pelosi
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