Washington D.C. — Today House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) appeared on FOX’s America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer to discuss his reaction to the President’s veto threats on bipartisan bills.
A full transcript of the conservation is below.
HEMMER: With us this morning, Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader out of California. Sir, good morning to you.
MCCARTHY: Good morning, thanks for having me.
HEMMER: Welcome to America’s Newsroom. Thanks for being here. Senator McConnell also says he wants to work with the President. What does that mean? On what?
MCCARTHY: Well, we would like to work the President on places where we could find things moving forward. America has a history in divided government of achieving big things. Think back to Reagan and Tip O’Neill doing tax reform. Or Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich: welfare reform and balancing the budget. But the difference was, remember after the big revolution in ’94, Bill Clinton came out and said the era of big government is over. Our current President came out—and it’s true, he thought he was running for a third term—he thought he’d won the election. We’ve been here three weeks and he offered 7 veto threats on bipartisan bills that have 102 Democrat votes.
HEMMER: So do you interpret that to be one of defiance? What is that attitude that you heard?
MCCARTHY: Well, I heard him time and again, he sat there and said he wanted to work with us and then offered the most veto threats of any president in the State of the Union. You can’t have it both ways. If you want to work with someone, then let’s sit down, work the legislative process, and find a common ground at the end of the day. That’s what we want to see happen.
HEMMER: Do you think he’s negotiating or do you think it’s more than that? Is it more than that?
MCCARTHY: I don’t see negotiations on his side. We’ve sat down with him now twice, having lunch, talking about places we can work together, from getting tax reform and others. Then he walks out the next day and says he needs tax increases. I think he finds a way not to come to a solution.
HEMMER: Why is that?
MCCARTHY: I’m not sure. I’ve always thought it’s better to have somebody who has been a governor to become president because they learned to work with both sides, than the current situation that we have in the White House.
HEMMER: There is no optimism in your voice. Does that mean nothing gets done?
MCCARTHY: No, I think we’re going to see time and again, we’ve put bills on his desk, and remember how we got welfare reform. We had to send it there three times. We’ve got a House and Senate -Like I say, even though the President offered veto threats, 102 Democrats defied this President and voted for these bills. So if we see that in the Senate, and move that to his desk, I think then maybe he will listen to the American public.
HEMMER: Your boss, John Boehner, was asked about income inequality. Listen to this and I’ll get you to react now.
SPEAKER BOEHNER: Frankly, the President’s policies have made income inequality worse. All the reglations that are coming out of Washington make it more difficult for employers to hire more people. Chief amongst, I would argue, is Obamacare, which basically puts a penalty or tax on employers for every new job they create.
HEMMER: How do you communicate that message if that’s what you believe?
MCCARTHY: Well it’s communicated if you just look at their income. In 2009, the middle household income is down $2,000. If you look at all the facts the President gave at the State of the Union, there’s a couple he forgot. There’s two ways to lower unemployment: people going back to work, or people giving up and not being in the workforce. Our participation rate is the lowest it’s been since 1978—Jimmy Carter. If people give up looking for a job, it means they have given up on their hopes and their dreams. His biggest piece of legislation, Obamacare, cut the 40-hour workweek. So who did that hurt the most? The middle-income. And that’s what we’re seeing happen.
HEMMER: You mentioned the veto threat a couple times. He’s going to challenge Republicans with these vetoes. You are going to challenge him on what? Fill in that blank.
MCCARTHY: We are going to challenge him on every step of the way. You watch this week. Look what happened around the world with Russian rebels back in Ukraine. We have an abundance of liquid natural gas in America where we can ship to it our allies and make them safer, not dependeant. But federal regulations hold that up. We have about 28 permits. It could create 45,000 jobs. We’re going to send that bill this week over to the Senate and put it on his desk. If he is for the American public and our allies, he will sign that bill. It will not only create jobs, but move forward. We’ve challenged him on the Keystone Pipeline—we challenged him on 40-hour workweek. Don’t punish people for working. Hire more veterans. Don’t have Obamacare make sure veterans don’t get hired. We’ve passed those bills bipartisan, send it to his desk, he tries to threaten so it can never get there. Let’s get it to it his desk and see what the American people say there.
HEMMER: Kevin McCarthy, thank you for your time. Big day for you. Happy birthday, by the way. #5-0. I have no idea what that feels like. But happy birthday to you. Kevin McCarthy, thank you.
MCCARTHY: Thanks very much.