Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s Fiscal Summit, discussing trade, the progress of the House agenda, and more with CNN’s Dana Bash.
Excerpts of the discussion are below:
On Trade Promotion Authority:
“We will get trade done. You need some Democrat votes regardless. … I think when people hear the message of what TPA would actually do, give more power back to Congress even, I think you’ll get enough on both sides to pass it.
“The difference in this negotiation—to which I think Paul Ryan has done a tremendous job—it still gives a say to the House. So, it gives those protections, which some members have some concerns with. We’ll actually do a conference this Thursday before we depart—all on trade so everybody can ask any questions they have to be able to get them answered. Because I really think our way forward is to expand economically.”
On getting Congress working again:
“What has been the focus of this new Congress? Dana knows I always talk metrics, because I believe that you have to measure where you are, and you have to be honest about where you can go. But when you look at the current Congress, we are the second most productive Republican Congress in our lifetime.
“What do I measure that on? I measure it on bills coming out of the House, bills that have been signed into law, bills that come out of Committee. You really want to look to the Committee. The more the Committee is productive, the more the problems get solved. The 40-year average is 6.6 percent of bills get out of Committee. … Today, we are at 7.6 in the first 100 days.”
On the debt and economic growth:
“You cannot sustain this debt. You cannot sustain the current entitlement programs. You’ve got to have an honest debate. I’m very proud of where Republicans have taken that debate and made it more the norm so others can have it as well. I still believe—I’m very bullish on this year—that, again if we do trade, if we do infrastructure, and we do tax reform, we’re in the basis of the next century being in the right place at the right time.”
On the Budget Control Act/Sequester:
“I would tell you on our side of the aisle, we would gladly do something about sequester. But we’re not going to raise taxes. We’re going to deal with the mandatory side of the spending. And if they [Democrats] want to deal with that, we’ll gladly come to some agreement.”
“So, the point I have is, if the President is serious about that, he should sit down and find ways that we can make fundamental changes to entitlements. We have said many times before, we will not go out of the realm; you give us everything you requested in your budget for entitlement reform, we’ll agree to those. But he doesn’t want to get there.”