Washington D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) joined CNBC’s Squawk Box to discuss the Democrats’ leadership battle, the need for a productive Congressional agenda and the single-payer debate.
Excerpts of the interview are below, or watch online here.
On the Democrats’ leadership battle and the need for a productive Congressional agenda:
“Look, I know the difficulty of trying to get to become Speaker. You have to have 218 on the floor. They have a number of people who ran who said they would never vote for her. But they’re coming from the Minority to the Majority. Normally if that happens, the Leader always usually becomes Speaker. Having been it before, I disagree with you because the things I hear from Congresswoman Pelosi, it’s a lot about investigation. If you listen to Nadler sitting on the train, it’s all about investigations, right. That’s really what their focus has been. They did not lay out an agenda for the American public. Look, we have a lot of places and room for improvement. There’s not one reason why we lost. If you look, history was against us. On average when a new president comes in, you lose 30 some seats. History played exactly the course. We had more retirements than ever before. Outspent by $150 million. Michael Bloomberg’s money went a long way, he defeated a lot of people by writing those $5 million checks. So, we do have room for improvement, but they did not win by laying out an agenda like a pledge to America or Contract with America. When you talk to them about what they’re going to do in January, they think they need to get together to think about their agenda so the only thing they’ve talked about is investigating the president, trying to get a tax return and talking about impeachment. Our country is too great for that.”
On the single-payer debate:
KERNEN: “Where is country on single-payer, do you think? Where is the country?”
LEADER MCCARTHY: “I think if you poll the question it will be split 50/50.”
LEADER MCCARTHY: “Yeah. If you go into the details, though, 55% of Americans get their health care through their company. That would be wiped away. The VA would be wiped away so, once you really have the debate about it, I think they would lose. Look, health care became a number one issue in this election but it wasn’t the idea that the American public wanted single-payer. They didn’t talk about the factors in it. And the places that they won were in suburban areas. I think they’d be one of the first people to lose. If they overstretch and really go to what the core of the new people come in, wanting to impeach the president, that will only guarantee the re-election of President Trump. So if they overstep their bounds I think they’ll be in trouble. They’re finding that they can’t even put their leadership team together – that’s going to be a struggle and that’s going to take some time.”