Skip to main content

Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke on the House floor today to condemn the Schumer shutdown and the Democrats’ attempt to hold our government hostage for an unrelated immigration fight.

Full speech below, or watch online here:

“Mr. Speaker, the nation finds itself in a grave situation. Our government has shut down. Military men and women in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and around the world are still risking their lives for our country, and they’re not being paid. Opioid treatment centers have had their funds cut off. Children in states across America will start losing their health insurance.

“How did we get to this place? The nation assumes there must be a good reason. The House passed a bill, a clean government funding bill with no string attached and with no gimmicks. Because states are running out of money, we even included funding for a bipartisan extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program for 6 years without any of any offsets our Democrat colleagues have objected to in the past—the longest the CHIP program has ever been reauthorized.

“So we passed that bill and it went to the Senate. And we all know the rules—but Mr. Speaker, at times it sounds likesome people need a little greater knowledge of how the system works— It’s incorrect to claim otherwise. Republicans may have majorities in both houses, but it takes 60 votes in the Senate to move legislation. That means the Senate needs Democrat votes to keep our government funded, but Senate Democrats said ‘no, ’just, Mr. Speaker, as more than 90% of those on the other side of the aisle in this House did as well.  Senate Democrats shut this government down. This is a Schumer Shutdown.

“Once upon a time, Chuck Schumer called shutting the government down a ‘politics of idiocy.’ Senator Feinstein even said ‘shutting down the government is a very serious thing.’ You know what she said? She said, ‘People die. Accidents happen. You don’t know. Necessary functions can cease.’ 

“So how did they change their minds? Why did they do it? I’d like to know, because nobody knows.

“It wasn’t the bill. The funding bill is clean. It wasn’t CHIP. The children’s health insurance legislation we passed came straight from the bipartisan deal in the Senate.

They say it’s about immigration, about DACA. They are shutting down the government, cutting off funds for our troops, cutting off funds to opioid treatment centers, and cutting off health insurance for American children over immigration—over something that has nothing to do with this funding bill or with putting the American people first. 

“So, I think it’s only reasonable we ask what exactly their demands are. Why are they holding our government and our troops and American children hostage? Why would you hold it over DACA if the President brought House, the Senate, the Republicans, the Democrats together. I was in the meeting. You know who else was in that meeting? The American public because the President allowed the media to be there.

“And you know what happened at the end of that meeting, based upon the Presidents’ leadership? He brought us together. And we all decided we would focus just on four ideas: DACA, border security, chain migration, and the lottery. Because we wanted to solve the problem but we didn’t want to come back to it a few years from now.

“And we took the President’s lead, and you know what? Every day we’ve been having those meetings. You know how I know? Because I’m in those meetings, and they’re in my office. Just a day before we shut down, the quote from those on the other side of the aisle and even in the Senate was, “This is the most productive meeting we’ve had.’ So why shut it down now? Why even shut down the meetings by shutting down the government? 

If they want something different than a bipartisan deal—if they want to force one-sided immigration policies through Congress that the American people don’t want—then have the courage to say it straight. Have the courage to say that they are shutting down our government to make the illegal immigration situation in this country worse instead of making the hard choices to fix it. 

“Mr. Speaker, the American people don’t want to see temper tantrums. They don’t want to see anyone stomping their feet, demanding they get their way. That’s not just an embarrassment, it has profound consequences for good people across this country.

Now, this House stands ready to pass another clean spending bill. And yes, Mr. Speaker, if this side of the aisle has to do it alone like we’ve done it in the past, we will.  We stand ready to keep our government open and pay our troops with no strings attached. But we will not negotiate a bad deal for America, especially not when Senate Democrats are holding our government hostage.

“This is too important. History is watching. History will not be kind to those that put themselves above the American people.”