House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., spoke for over eight hours on the floor Thursday night and into Friday morning ahead of a crucial House vote, making his final case against the President Biden social spending bill that Republicans say will cause long-term damage to the U.S. economy.
In his scathing floor speech, McCarthy described the legislation as the "single most reckless and irresponsible spending bill in our nation’s history." He criticized nearly every proposal included in the $1.75 trillion package, dubbed the "Build Back Better Act," as well as the Biden administration's broader policies. The tactic effectively stalled a long-delayed final vote on the Democrat-backed legislation, with McCarthy stopping and starting on several occasions amid murmurs in the chamber.
McCarthy said Democratic lawmakers were "out of touch" with the needs and wishes of ordinary Americans. Republicans universally oppose the legislation, which they denounce as a fiscally irresponsible initiative that will exacerbate the inflation crisis, damage the long-term economy, and introduce to large a degree of socialism.
"Never in American history has so much been spent at one time," McCarthy said. "Never in American history will so many taxes be raised and so much borrowing be needed to pay for all this reckless spending."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., moved forward with a vote after the Congressional Budget Office released its cost estimates for the legislation. The CBO found the bill would add $367 billion to the federal deficit through 2031. McCarthy's speech eclipsed Pelosi's 2018 marathon and became the longest speech ever delivered on the House floor.
The nonpartisan agency also found increased IRS tax enforcement would generate new revenue of $127 billion, far short of the White House’s projection of $400 billion. The CBO score raised doubts about the Biden administration’s claims that the bill’s costs are fully covered.
McCarthy described the IRS enforcement initiative as an expense of "billions of dollars to hire 87,000 IRS agents" who will be "going after Americans." The House minority leader slammed various provisions included in the legislation, including the expanded child tax credit program.
He asserted the bill would result in higher prices for U.S.-made products, higher energy costs, immigration policies that will worsen an ongoing border crisis and "nationalized, Washington-centered education" at schools.
"From bank surveillance to bailouts, this bill takes the problems President Biden and Democrats have already created and makes them much, much worse," McCarthy said.
The bill includes more than $550 billion in spending toward climate action, $400 billion toward child care and universal pre-K and $200 billion toward child tax and earned income tax credits. Biden and Democratic supporters say the legislation is a necessary overhaul that will modernize the U.S. economy.
McCarthy cited the recent Republican gubernatorial election win in Virginia and a tighter-than-expected race in New Jersey as proof that Americans were against the Democrats’ national legislative agenda.
The House is expected to vote on the spending bill Friday.