McCarthy Says His Valley District Wants Solutions More Than Federal Money
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he is representing his Fresno and Clovis constituents by listening to local leaders.
McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, spoke with the Fresno media in a 20-minute Q&A session at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District building on Tuesday. He talked about China, water, bipartisanship among several issues.
After the news conference, McCarthy expressed frustration with a local newspaper.
McCarthy: ‘I’m Listening’
With the new Congress in January, McCarthy’s district now includes Clovis and parts of Fresno. He said bringing District 20 more federal dollars is not his constituents’ focus.
“I think the first thing this area wants is a government that’s efficient, effective and held accountable. I don’t think their answer is just bring me money. They want to think solutions,” McCarthy said. “The answer is not always, first, bring me money. It’s to solve a problem.”
Prior to meeting with the media, McCarthy held two roundtable discussions with local leaders. One session included elected city leaders and law enforcement. Agriculture was the topic of the second meeting.
“The uniqueness with the Valley is, they will sit down and talk. So the things that you asked me the question, what am I doing? I’m sitting and listening. I’m just sitting and listening and trying to collaborate together to find the solutions,” McCarthy said.
Bipartisanship Still an Option
McCarthy remains optimistic about working with President Joe Biden and Democrats on future legislation.
“Government is designed that you have to work together,” McCarthy said. “I can work with anybody.”
The Speaker listed several recent bipartisan votes, including a 419-0 vote to condemn China’s alleged deployment of a spy balloon over the United States.
He also criticized Democrats for what he says is support of socialism, and supporting crime in Washington, DC.
“We’re going to differ in a lot of places. But there’s other places that I think we can find common ground,” McCarthy said.
China: President Wrong
McCarthy criticized Biden for not taking earlier action to shoot down the Chinese balloon.
“I think the decision to wait to allow the balloon to fly over the continental U.S. was wrong. I think we should have made a decision to take that balloon down earlier,” McCarthy said.
Debt Ceiling, George Santos
McCarthy said Biden was dragging his feet regarding the debt ceiling. He said the nation is $31 trillion in debt.
“I think the way our whole government is designed, you got to have compromise. I actually think we should spend less because if you look at the revenues coming into government is the highest it’s ever been in the history of America,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy blamed Democrats for federal spending, which he says needs to be cut. He also opposes raising taxes.
When it comes to embattled Rep. George Santos, R-New York, McCarthy said it would not be fair for him to decide his fate. Santos has been exposed for lying about his background during his 2022 campaign.
“You have a representative that got elected by the American public and you have to hold them accountable. I cannot pick and choose and say I just like you, even though the American public voted for you,” McCarthy said.
He compared Santos’ lying to California Rep. Eric Swalwell’s alleged relationship with a Chinese spy and “lies” told by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California.
“What you have to do, is you have to have due process for Mr. Santos, what I believe is responsible as the leader of Republicans, he’s not on any committee. He did not get classified briefing. The Ethics Committee will look at the different questions. And if there is a problem and … I’d hold anybody to this standard to sitting in Congress as well. Then we take action. But before that, you can’t,” McCarthy said.
Run In With Fresno Bee
After the news conference, McCarthy had choice comments for Tad Weber, opinion editor of the Fresno Bee, who was covering the news conference.
McCarthy was frustrated because he believed the newspaper never contacted him before running an editorial. Weber said they tried several times to reach McCarthy’s office.
At close of @SpeakerMcCarthy news conference with #Fresno media, he lets the @FresnoBee and @TadWeber have it. pic.twitter.com/hxSzduhSXO
— David Taub (@TaubGVWire) February 15, 2023
Starts Day At World Ag Expo
Earlier in the day, McCarthy participated in a House Agriculture Committee listening session at the World Ag Expo in Tulare. Chaired by Rep. GT Thompson, R-Pennsylvania, the committee heard from the community about re-authorization of the farm bill. The bill is renewed every five years.
“If you are not at the table, you are probably on the menu,” Thompson said.
Speakers, representing several industry groups, asked for: water, immigration, price protections, improved forest health, nutrition programs, more research, crop insurance among other requests.
Said McCarthy at the Clovis news conference: “We watch the policies of the state let this water run out to the ocean. When we go through these droughts and we have these communities striving for water and and having land go fallow because they can’t produce. Why would we waste that?”