House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has vowed to secure borders, cut government spending and launch a tough investigation into the Biden administration if Republicans win the House on Tuesday, reflecting the fact that McCarthy will be forced to deal with an increasingly hard line and pro-Trump Trump meeting eager to impeach President Joe Biden.
Two days before the midterm elections, McCarthy outlined his power plan in an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with CNN, which includes tackling inflation, rising crime and border security — three issues that have come to the heart of Republicans’ approach to voters question. To underscore the message, McCarthy — who has been making a national hype in the run-up to the midterm elections — rallied here Sunday on three Hispanic Republican women who are vying to represent three Hispanic Republican women in key areas on the southern border . The party’s strategy to win the majority.
“You’re going to see a bill that controls the border first,” McCarthy told CNN when asked about the details of his party’s immigration program. “You have to control the border. This year alone, nearly Two million people came here.”
The Biden administration continues to rely on the Trump-era pandemic emergency rule, known as Section 42, which allows border authorities to keep migrants away at the U.S.-Mexico border. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. border encounters more than 2 million people in fiscal year 2022 as mass immigration in the Western Hemisphere hits. Of these, more than 1 million were turned away under Article 42.
But McCarthy also emphasized oversight and investigations as a key priority for the Republican-led House, listing potential investigations into the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal, the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and how the administration handles parent and school board meetings. He has left the door open for the eventual launch of impeachment proceedings, which some of his members have already called.
“We will never use impeachment for political purposes,” McCarthy said. “It doesn’t mean that if something happens, it won’t be used any other time.”
McCarthy tried to reiterate his support for Ukraine, while saying they would not automatically rubber stamp any additional requests for aid.
“I’m very pro-Ukraine,” McCarthy said. “I think there has to be accountability going forward. … You always need, not blank checks, but make sure resources go where they’re needed. And make sure Congress and the Senate have the ability to debate openly.”
McCarthy declined to say how many seats he thought the GOP would gain on Tuesday, but said he believed “at least enough to win a majority.” McCarthy did say that, in his eyes, “anywhere above 20 is a red wave.”
McCarthy, who had to drop out of the speaker race in 2015 over objections from the far-right House Freedom Caucus, told CNN he believed he would have the support this time around to secure the coveted speaker’s gavel — — either from his meeting or from his meeting. Former President Donald Trump.
“I believe we’ll have a speaker’s vote, yes,” McCarthy said. “I think Trump would be very supportive.”
Regarding the influx of immigrants to the border, McCarthy said “there are a lot of different ways” that his majority will address the issue, but said Republicans won’t come up with a bill to fix the broken immigration system until the border is secure.
“I think ‘stay in Mexico’ you have to start right away,” he said, referring to the controversial policy whereby immigrants are forced to stay in Mexico while they wait in the U.S. for immigration processes.
To help stop the flow of fentanyl across the border, McCarthy said “you start by doing a very frontal attack on China to stop the poison from coming in” and then “provide the resources that border agents need” and “make sure that fentanyl anyone wants to touch it, you You can charge him to death.”
Asked about the specifics of the crime-fighting plan, McCarthy said Republicans would fund police, provide funding for recruitment and training, and study how to prosecute crimes. To reduce inflation and gasoline prices, he said they would reduce government spending and make America more energy independent, although he did not name specific bills.
Most bills will be mostly messaging and are unlikely to overcome a presidential veto or the Senate’s 60-vote threshold, although they must pass legislation to fund the government and raise the state borrowing limit sometime next year. McCarthy, however, hinted that Republicans will demand spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, triggering a dangerous fiscal showdown that could lead to a catastrophic debt default.
“If you’re going to give a person a higher limit, don’t you start by saying you should change your behavior so you don’t keep raising it?” he said. “You shouldn’t just say, ‘Oh, I’ll let you keep spending money.’ No family should do that.”
McCarthy acknowledged that Republicans are willing to raise the debt ceiling under Trump, but said the calculation is different now that Democrats have spent trillions under Biden.
Asked if he was willing to risk a default by using the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip, McCarthy insisted that wouldn’t happen: “People talk about taking risks. You don’t risk defaulting.”
In addition to trying to regain the majority, McCarthy has been fighting to win the Speaker. A key part of the strategy is to elevate potential critics and controversial Trump allies.
To this end, McCarthy vowed to restore the freshman House of Representatives. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia was on her committee assignment, although she was stripped of her assignment by Democrats last year for inflammatory remarks.
Meanwhile, McCarthy reiterated his plan to start the House of Representatives. California Democrat Eric Swalwell in his seat on the House Intelligence Committee.
When asked if he had any restrictions on the committees Green could serve on, McCarthy — who will have a direct say in assigning those tasks — said “no.” Green had previously told CNN she wanted a seat on the House Oversight Committee, which will play a key role in the Republican-led majority investigation.
“She’s going to have committees to serve, just like all the other members…Members call for different committees, and if we go through the steering committee, we’ll consider it,” he said. “She can pass the committee she wants, just like any other member elected in our conference.”
Green isn’t the only member spreading conspiracy theories or inflammatory rhetoric. Recently, some Republicans have mocked the brutal attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, or peddled fringe conspiracy theories about the incident.
Asked about his message to those Republicans, McCarthy said: “What happened to Paul Pelosi was wrong, and I don’t think we should get caught up in that kind of rhetoric.”
But when asked how he would suppress such rhetoric, McCarthy pointed the finger at Democrats.
“The first thing I ask the president to do is not to call half the country idiots or talk about them because they have a different opinion,” he said. “I think leadership is important, and I think that probably starts with the president. It will also Start with the speakers.”
Asked again how he would deal with members of his own party who spread dangerous conspiracy theories, McCarthy replied: “I’ve seen people on both sides of the aisle,” he said. “If I were the speaker, I’d be the speaker of the entire House. So it’s not going to be just about the Republicans. We’re going to be looking at the Democrats as well.”