House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) criticized the Obama administration Wednesday by saying it is too busy worrying about how to roast marshmallows, and not worried enough about the growing threat posed by the Islamic State.
McCarthy spoke to his GOP colleagues in a phone call Wednesday afternoon, in which members talked about their legislative plans for September.
According to a source familiar with the call, McCarthy cited a story last week from TheBlaze that described a U.S. Forest Service blog post on how to safely roast marshmallows, and even how to make more healthy desserts around the campfire.
This source said McCarthy complained that the government is offering up strategies for making s’mores, but has no strategy yet for dealing with the Islamic State. He added that this strange prioritization of issues is an example of what’s wrong with the government.
On Thursday, McCarthy formalized his thoughts in a memo to House Republicans.
“I don’t know if you caught this, but last Friday the Forest Service published an article about how to roast marshmallows,” he wrote. “Tips included using a roasting stick of at least 30 inches in length and substituting fruit for the chocolate and slices of angel food cake for graham crackers.”
“This perfectly captures what is wrong with our government. Hard-earned tax dollars supporting bureaucrats who can’t pass up an opportunity to tell us how to live our lives. For the things that government is supposed to do – like confront terrorist groups – we don’t have a strategy, but for things Americans are supposed to be able to do for themselves – like figuring out the best ingredients for s’mores – government bureaucrats have that figured out.”
President Barack Obama has come under intense criticism for his admission last week that his administration has “no strategy” for dealing with the Islamic State in Syria. This week, Obama said the U.S. goal is to “destroy” the terrorist group, but said later in the same speech that the plan is to make the group a “manageable problem.”
McCarthy was joined on Wednesday’s GOP phone call by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). According to another source who was on the GOP phone call, Boehner criticized Democrats in the Senate for trying to run out the clock this year by debating campaign finance. But Boehner said the GOP would not waste the month, and use September to pursue issues that affect American workers.
“The House is going to spend September focused on American solutions to help get people back to work, lower costs at home, and restore opportunity for all Americans,” Boehner said, according to the person on the call. “That’s our closing argument.”
Boehner also said September would be “brief but busy,” and said Republicans would do their best to “paint a very stark contrast between ourselves and the Democrats who run Washington.”
While it’s not clear exactly what bills Republicans might call up in September, the GOP has pursued several bills aimed at deregulating various industries and boosting domestic energy exploration. Boehner said on the call that the Senate has so far ignored hundreds of these House-passed bills.
“Harry Reid plans to just run out the clock,” Boehner said.
One bill that will likely have to get done, possibly as early as next week, is an omnibus spending bill to keep the government open past September 30, when funding runs out.
This story was updated September 4 to include McCarthy’s memo to GOP lawmakers.