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McCarthy Pushes To Immediately End Pandemic Emergencies After Biden Says He Won’t Do It Till May

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UNITED STATES - JANUARY 12: Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., conducts a news conference in the U.S. Capitols Statuary Hall on Thursday, January 12, 2023.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said during an interview Monday night that he is putting forth a bill this week to bring an immediate end to the COVID emergency that was started under former President Donald Trump and has been extended for nearly three years under the Biden administration.

McCarthy made the remarks on Fox Business after Biden told Congress this week that he will end extend the COVID-19 national emergency and the public health emergency on May 11.

“We’re putting a bill on the floor to end this pandemic,” McCarthy said. “Do you realize that 47 percent of the federal employees are still not in for work? When we took the majority and I became speaker, one of my first actions was make members of Congress to come back to work. For the first time in history, members of Congress didn’t have to show up, and they kept getting paid.”

“I think people have to show the work ethic. I think people should show up to work,” he continued. “And we’re going to pass that bill this week that brings — brings those federal employees back to work to provide the service that they’re getting — that the taxpayers are paying them for.”

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

SEAN DUFFY, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK ANCHOR: President Biden will meet with Speaker Kevin McCarthy this week.

But, earlier today, he had this to say about negotiations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Speaker McCarthy, when he says he wants to negotiate, what do you say to him?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Show me your budget, I will show you mine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DUFFY: Here now is the speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy.

Leader McCarthy — I mean, not leader — Speaker McCarthy, good to see you. I was downgrading you. Congratulations, by the way, on the big speaker’s win. I haven’t spoke to you since.

Talk to me about the negotiations that are coming on Wednesday with Joe Biden. And I’m doing a two-part question for you, which I know you don’t like.

(LAUGHTER)

DUFFY: But are the Republicans all sticking together? You got a small majority. You guys are all like rallying and fighting together on this thing?

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Yes.

But, first, let me congratulate the two of you. I am so excited to be on the hottest new show on television. And you guys are killing it. I love you both. And I’m so excited for what happens in the future.

DUFFY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MCCARTHY: So let me do a good job, so you invite me back, OK?

DUFFY: Absolutely.

MCCARTHY: Yes, we go in on Wednesday.

For the president to say he doesn’t want to negotiate something this large, I mean, when you think back to 2011, when he was vice president, they even called the negotiations after the debt — over the debt ceiling the Biden negotiations.

I mean, to think that the president believes there’s no place in government you can’t cut and have a savings for the hardworking taxpayers, there’s so much waste out there. And we have got to put ourselves back on a trajectory that balances.

Think about this. We are at 120 percent of GDP to our debt. We haven’t been this place since World War II. That means our debt is larger than our economy. It’s like giving your child a credit card, they charge it up, you’re responsible for the charges, but do you just raise the limit? Or do you look at, what are we spending on, and let’s eliminate some of this?

Every family does it, every business, every state, every county. And when I’m going to go see the president, that’s exactly what I’m going to tell him. We need to sit down together, find common ground, find where we can eliminate the waste, and let’s put our country back on a path where we can balance and give our future brighter than before.

Our Republican Party made it look like we were fighting when we first came in. I think that actually turned out to be very healthy, because we only have a five-seat majority. Unfortunately, Greg Steube is home for a couple of weeks. He fell out of a tree. So we’re going to work very closely together.

And I think you’re going to find us more united than ever before. Think about what we did the first week, bipartisan, created the new Select Committee on China, got 146 Democrats with us, got 113 Democrats to vote with us to stop this president from selling oil out of our reserves to China.

We just had for the first time in seven years an open process on the floor, where anybody can offer an amendment. The Democrats were shocked because they’d never allow you to do that.

DAGEN MCDOWELL, FOX BUSINESS ANCHOR: Mr. Speaker, all of the spending by the Democrats created this runaway inflation.

MCCARTHY: Yes. Exactly.

MCDOWELL: And you and the Republicans are trying to rein in spending.

But Democrats, while most Americans have not gotten a raise adjusting for inflation, the Democrats have proposed in the House a raise of 8.7 percent for federal workers.

MCCARTHY: Yes.

And federal workers got the same raise as those in the military, over 4 percent, before.

MCDOWELL: Right.

MCCARTHY: And the real challenge here, though, is, we’re putting a bill on the floor to end this pandemic.

Do you realize that 47 percent of the federal employees are still not in for work? When we took the majority and I became speaker, one of my first actions was make members of Congress to come back to work. For the first time in history, members of Congress didn’t have to show up, and they kept getting paid.

I think people have to show the work ethic. I think people should show up to work. And we’re going to pass that bill this week that brings — brings those federal employees back to work to provide the service that they’re getting — that the taxpayers are paying them for.

I mean, think of this. You’re right that the Democrats, when they were in the majority for those four years, they increased discretionary spending by 30 percent, $400 billion. When Sean and I were in the majority as congressmen, and we were in the majority for eight years, you know how much higher the discretionary spending went up in those eight years? Zero.

It went down $10 billion. That’s the difference between us, in eight years, no increase, in four years by 30 percent, which brought us inflation, which brought us our economic problems where you can’t afford the eggs or others. And we’re going to change all that in this negotiation.

MCDOWELL: Before you move on, I just wanted to note, I apologize for my home state, because one of the co-sponsors of this bill was a congressman, Gerry Connolly, from my home state, a Democrat.

MCCARTHY: Yes.

MCDOWELL: And he went as far as to say that federal workers deserve this raise and need this raise because of the cruel personal attacks under Donald Trump, the former president.

So, I just wanted to note that, that that’s why federal workers deserve a raise of almost 9 percent. But, Sean, continue.

DUFFY: I don’t think, Mr. Speaker, you’re going for that.

But you’re making a good point, which is the fact that the Democrats racked up this credit card…

MCCARTHY: Yes.

DUFFY: … and now they’re coming to you in the majority and say, hey, Speaker McCarthy and Republicans in this new majority, we want you to pay the bill for us with no spending cuts, which makes no sense to me.

But Joe Biden keeps talking about this being catastrophic if you don’t raise the debt limit. Well, if it was catastrophic, wouldn’t he sit down and negotiate? Wouldn’t he take a position of, Kevin, I got some things I really love here, you got some things that you love, but let’s figure out how we move forward?

Digging your heels in is never good politics, is it?

MCCARTHY: It’s not.

And, look, we have hit the statutory debt limit. But let’s be honest. There’s hundreds of billions of dollars. So this doesn’t come to fruition until sometime in June. Now would be the perfect opportunity to sit down, just as the way our founders designed our government. You have to find compromise.

The voters decided Republicans would be in the majority in the House. He has the presidency. And the Democrats have a small majority in the Senate. So the only person who’s being irresponsible that could affect the markets is the president by being that spoiled child, said, I will not talk, I will not meet. You just have to raise the debt limit.

It sounds like a 13-year-old daughter that you gave a credit card and she charged it all up and just wants to spend more. That’s not the way the government works.

DUFFY: You talking about my kids, Mr. Speaker?

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MCCARTHY: Well, I know you got a lot of them. And I love them all.

(LAUGHTER)

MCDOWELL: By the way, fearmongering straight out of the White House, if it causes long-term interest rates to go up, you are directly impacting the cost of borrowing for a home for all Americans.

DUFFY: Joe Biden.

MCDOWELL: If that language causes markets to move, be careful, not you, but the president.

MCCARTHY: Exactly.

(CROSSTALK)

MCCARTHY: Well, think about what he’s — think about what he’s doing if he doesn’t find a path to put us on to balance.

Our largest payment in the future will be our debt.

DUFFY: Yes.

MCDOWELL: Right.

MCCARTHY: Our debt is larger than our economy.

We haven’t had this since World War II. But, in World War II, we borrowed all this money to save our nation and save the world. And right after the war was over, it collapsed. Right now, what they’re spending their money on is not the way that we would invest properly.

DUFFY: So, could we switch gears in here, Mr. Speaker?

Because I can’t get enough of the story. Representative Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, and Ilhan Omar…

(LAUGHTER)

DUFFY: … they took to the media airwaves this last weekend about your decision to remove them from their committee assignments.

Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): This is some Bakersfield B.S. It’s Kevin McCarthy weaponizing his ability to commit this political abuse.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I don’t accept the premise that this has anything to do with the conduct of any of the Democratic members. This is merely the weakness of Kevin McCarthy’s speakership, that he’s so reliant on these extreme members.

REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): To smear someone and their character, their love for their country and the work that they get to do on a committee is wrong.

And it is politically motivated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DUFFY: Mr. Speaker, I didn’t hear any of these three Democrats make those kinds of speeches when Nancy Pelosi took Marjorie Taylor Greene off of every single committee or Paul Gosar off every single committee.

They actually applauded it. And now, what, they’re offended that they lost one of their prized committees?

MCCARTHY: And think about this.

This has nothing to do with the latter, that them removing people. I’m talking about the Intel Committee. Sean, you know this. This is where the classified information is given.

Well, when we had Swalwell, the Democrats appointed it to it, the FBI came to us and warned Congress: This person has a relationship with a Chinese spy.

I got the briefing when I became leader. He can’t get a security clearance in the private sector. We should not have him on Intel.

And for him to claim it’s Bakersfield B.S., they’re attacking the rural voters. You have been to Bakersfield.

DUFFY: Beautiful.

MCCARTHY: And you know what’s interesting? Integrity matters.

And we looked at Schiff as the chair. We watched the number of times he lied to the American public.

So, they can be on other committees. They can’t be on Intel.

But Congresswoman Omar, she said when it came to foreign affairs, this is how the rest of the world looks at America. She said it was all about the Benjamins. She equated the American military to Hamas or the Taliban. She goes after on 9/11, something happened that day.

Lookit, they can be on other committees, and they’re allowed to. That’s the difference between Republicans and Democrats.

DUFFY: You’re too nice, Mr. McCarthy. I would have kicked them off all committees.

(LAUGHTER)

DUFFY: But that’s just me.

I’m sorry. Go ahead, Dagen.

MCDOWELL: Also, Swalwell, I would not expect him to know this, because he’s — well, I’m going to edit myself, Mr. Speaker.

(CROSSTALK)

MCDOWELL: But when you insult Bakersfield, you insult Buck Owens.

MCCARTHY: That’s right. Merle Haggard.

MCDOWELL: And you insult all of — well, yes.

And you insult not country, but Western. And we love both kinds.

MCCARTHY: Yes. Well, thank you.

MCDOWELL: So he is a dip-a-dee-doo-dah.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCARTHY: I’m born and raised in Bakersfield, and I could not be prouder.

MCDOWELL: Exactly.

DUFFY: We have those — you grow little carrots there, right, the little mini carrots?

(CROSSTALK)

MCCARTHY: That’s right.

And for the world to know, two families, now, they have sold — they grow 80 percent of all the carrots in the country. And you know those little carrots? They’re really — really just big carrots. We chop them, charge you a little more, and you buy them, and we thank you for America for it.

(LAUGHTER)

MCDOWELL: You do know Bakersfield a little too well.

DUFFY: I was there with the speaker.

MCCARTHY: Yes.

MCDOWELL: Before we go, here’s a gem from Congressman Lieu that happened at the end of last week.

With gas prices climbing, I think gas prices are up 32 cents in the last month. They’re still up from a year ago.

MCCARTHY: They’re up $1.20 since the president has been there.

MCDOWELL: Right. Exactly.

But here’s what Congressman Ted Lieu had to say about Joe Biden and gas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): I could summarize this debate of last two days into one sentence: Joe Biden lowered your gas prices, and Republicans are upset about it. That’s what this is about.

We should be giving the president even more flexibility to use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCDOWELL: Before we go, Mr. Speaker.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCARTHY: I will tell you, they just put out lies.

I mean, think about what this president has done, brought us the biggest inflation in 41 years by their spending. And now he doesn’t want to negotiate about it. He’s opened a border that now people on the terrorist watch list, more come across the country in one month than came across under Trump’s four years.

He sells our Strategic Petroleum Reserves that is supposed to be reserved for when we have an emergency to China. We have watched time and again where he criticized former presidents for having classified documents. He’s had them in his garage when he was a U.S. senator.

Sean, you know this. I don’t know any member that could walk out of a SCIF with top secret documents. But he did.

DUFFY: Impossible.

MCCARTHY: I mean, time and again, he has failed this nation.

But, luckily, the American voter has changed course in the House. And we’re going to stand up and keep our Commitment to America, make sure you’re safe on this border, bring us energy independence, let parents have a say in their kids’ education. And, yes, we’re going to hold this government accountable.

MCDOWELL: Speaker Kevin McCarthy, great to see you. Thank you so much for joining us.

DUFFY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

(CROSSTALK)

MCCARTHY: Congratulations on the great show. I’m watching it. You look fabulous. And I’m really excited. I hope you invite me back.

DUFFY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You are the best.

MCDOWELL: Thank you very much.

DUFFY: We appreciate it.

Related: Speaker McCarthy Shreds Reporter Over Question About Adam Schiff And Eric Swalwell

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