In his first speech to Congress after being elected the 55th Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) pledged to hold the Biden administration accountable, fix the economy, and win the economic battle with China.
In a 20-minute speech, McCarthy laid out the key issues for the GOP-controlled House for the 118th Congress.
The issues McCarthy highlighted included securing the southern border, reigning in government spending, lowering energy costs, creating good-paying jobs, opening the way for American-made energy, and combating leftist “woke” indoctrination in schools.
In the long term, the new speaker said Congress also needs to address the growing U.S. debt and the rise of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“Tonight, I want to talk directly to the American people. As Speaker of the House, my ultimate responsibility is not to my party, my conference, or even our Congress. My responsibility—our responsibility—is to our country,” McCarthy said. “Two months ago, you voted for a new direction for our country. You embraced our commitment to America, and now we’re going to keep our commitment to you.”
Checking the President’s Policies
McCarthy said the GOP-controlled House’s commitment to the American people includes making the economy strong, enabling people to fill up their gas tanks, afford groceries, see their paychecks grow, and feel safe in their communities because law enforcement is respected and criminals are prosecuted.
“A commitment for a government that is held accountable. Where Americans get the answers they want, need, and deserve,” he said. “Our system is built on checks and balances. It’s time for us to be a check and provide some balance to the president’s policies.”
“There’s nothing more important than making it possible for American families to live and enjoy the lives they deserve,” he continued. “That is why we commit to stop wasteful Washington spending, to lower the price of groceries, gas, cars, housing, and stop the rising national debt.”
McCarthy pledged to cut the regulatory burden, lower energy costs for families, and “create good-paying jobs for workers by releasing reliable, abundant American-made energy.”
The speaker noted that the House’s first bill when Congress comes back will aim to repeal the funding for 87,000 Internal Revenue Service agents, saying that the government should be trying to help the people, not “go after them.”
The GOP-controlled House will also create a bipartisan select committee on China to investigate how to bring back the “hundreds of thousands” of jobs that went to China. “And then we will win this economic competition,” McCarthy said.
“Now, speaking of committees, we’ll hold the swamp accountable. From the withdrawal from Afghanistan to the origins of COVID, and to the weaponization of the FBI,” he continued. “Let me be very clear, we will use the power of the purse and the power of the subpoena to get the job done.”
“This is something we should all agree upon: We will stand up and speak out for the backbone of our economy—the hardworking taxpayer,” he continued.
Marking the moment, McCarthy said that it felt like a “new beginning, a fresh start” before declaring that the U.S. Capitol building was once again open to the public to come and witness lawmakers debate legislation.
“I want to give all Americans a personal invitation. You are welcome to see this body at work. No longer will the doors be closed, but the debates will be open for you to witness what happens in the People’s House,” he said.
Congress will “pursue the truth passionately,” whether in committee rooms or on the floor of the House, McCarthy said. There would be no more “one-sided inquiries” during the 118th Congress. Instead, competing ideas will be put to the test in public so that the best ideas win, he said.
McCarthy further noted that the truth isn’t always found in Washington before declaring that one of the first Congressional hearings would be held at the southern border.
“No more ignoring a crisis of safety and sovereignty. We must secure our border. We must get America back on track,” he said.
Elected After 15 Ballots
McCarthy was elected after 15 votes which began on Jan. 3, in a very close election that ran past midnight in the lower chamber of the U.S. Capitol.
The newly-elected speaker’s 216 votes total bested Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), who received the votes of all 212 Democrats present in the chamber on each ballot, except for one.
McCarthy won after the six rebellious conservative members who had opposed him since the first ballot all voted present. That reduced the number of members voting to 428, shrinking McCarthy’s final numbers from 218 to 216.
Celebrations erupted on the Republican side of the House chamber when it became clear McCarthy had finally secured the speaker’s chair.