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Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy this week set the record for the longest speech made in the House of Representatives in modern history, at eight hours and 32 minutes.
The Republican’s marathon floor speech, which started Thursday night and ended before dawn the next day, eclipsed the previous mark set by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The Democrat spoke for eight hours and seven minutes on immigration policy in February 2018.
Here are five key quotes from McCarthy’s speech.
McCarthy didn’t hold back on the House floor when taking aim at President Biden and the Democrats for their leftward-lurching policies.
During his speech, McCarthy torched Biden for ending Trump administration border policies, a decision that he said had incentivized more illegal immigrants to come across the border.
“Biden terminated every successful immigration policy put into place by President Trump, triggering the largest wave of illegal immigration in … history,” McCarthy said.
The U.S. has seen a surge in illegal immigration under the Biden administration.
“What do you think’s going to happen? That border when you hide a billion dollars in amnesty? What do you think’s going to happen when you reward people with $450,000?” McCarthy said in his speech, blasting Democrats over reports of payments to migrants separated at the border, as well as provisions in the bill granting amnesty to some illegal immigrants.
Democrats beefing up the IRS
McCarthy also took aim at Democrats for including a provision in Build Back Better legislation that would hire tens of thousands of Internal Revenue Service agents, asserting that “half” of those agents “are going after Americans who make $75,000 or less.”
“They’re going to have to give more because you’re hiring 87,000 IRS agents to come after them; 1.2 million more audits,” McCarthy said.
“That’s what you base this entire bill on. That’s what you waited for the CBO to tell you,” McCarthy added. The Biden administration lately has placed scrutiny on the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which reviews legislation and assigns them a budget score.
“How much money can we get from them? How is that possible? The payments for illegal immigrants?” McCarthy continued. “It’s just the latest data point in a much larger trend of failures.”
McCarthy later accused Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris of presiding over “the greatest series of border security blunders in American history.”
Calling out the Democrats’ zero-dollar price tag claim
Biden and the Democrats have been pushing the talking point that the Build Back Better agenda will cost “zero dollars.”
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, however, projected that the spending bill will add $367 billion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years, without counting potential revenue from an IRS tax enforcement crackdown that White House officials claim will cover the remaining cost.
“The American people obviously know this bill won’t cost zero dollars,” McCarthy pointed out, adding that the “CBO score says in five years it’s going to cost $800 billion.”
“In 10 [years], more than $367 billion,” the top House Republican warned. “That’s what your children’s children will have to pay, and they’ll mark this day that it happened.”
McCarthy also unloaded on Democrats during his speech for economic policies that he claims is driving up inflation and hurting American families.
“You created inflation,” McCarthy said to Democrats. “But the first thing that was said, ‘it’s just temporary.’ Our own president said he doesn’t know of any economist that’s worried about inflation.”
President Biden, with first lady Jill Biden, speaks during a visit at Brookland Middle School in northeast Washington, on Sept. 10. (AP)
McCarthy pointed out that there were warnings to Democrats from both sides of the aisle about the danger of rising inflation.
“But you felt you had to go forward. You felt it was good for the American public to pay more,” McCarthy said. “And it will infringe on our fundamental American rights and liberties.”
Parallels with the Carter administration
McCarthy said there are similarities between former President Jimmy Carter’s administration and the Biden administration, pointing to the current White House’s response to crises facing Americans.
McCarthy recalled that Carter told Americans that “the heater had to go down because the price is going up, and we need to expect less as Americans.”
“Today, the White House laughs if you ask them what their plan is for America to become energy independent, a lower gas price,” McCarthy said, referring to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm laughing off a question about how she would bring down gas costs.
McCarthy noted that Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a moderate Democrat, said recently that “nobody” voted for Biden to govern like Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
“Just a few weeks ago, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger said, ‘Nobody elected Joe Biden to be FDR,’” McCarthy said. “In response, Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shouted, ‘I did!’”
Leadership is given special privilege in the House when it comes to floor speeches, which are usually limited to a minute or two per member.
Party leaders on both sides can speak as long as they want to, opening the House up to a filibuster-lite.