Horowitz: McCarthy passed budget bills with Dem support during Trump years
December 05, 2022
Win McNamee/Getty Images
If you don’t support Kevin McCarthy for speaker, you are somehow helping the Democrats because of a phantom concern that for the first time ever, RINOs will get together and elect a Democrat speaker. This is the propaganda being disseminated by McCarthy and his allies in the broken Conservative Inc. media. Aside from the fact that this concern is completely unfounded, they are forgetting the irony that McCarthy himself, on the most important pieces of legislation – budgets and debt ceiling – worked with Democrats as floor leader to squander the golden years of Trump’s presidency with budget bills that Democrats often supported unanimously.
It’s getting old. Republicans work with Democrats on every policy that matters, especially at the time the ball is actually in play, yet every time we seek to do surgery – either through elections, policy fights, or leadership battles – we are told that if we don’t help the Republicans, who work with Democrats … we are helping the Democrats!
There seems to be an epidemic of political amnesia afflicting some in the legacy Conservative Inc. circles, allowing them to propagate a message that McCarthy, unlike McConnell, is somehow a new kid on the block intrepidly representing the interests of conservatives in 2022. In reality, he is a rusted-out fossil from the Boehner-Cantor-Ryan gang that perfidiously betrayed us on every issue, leverage point, and strategy that could have precluded the terrible morass we find ourselves in today. While McCarthy was never speaker, he was the majority leader from 2014 (and whip since 2010), including those critical years – 2017-2018 – when Republicans held all three branches.
The advantage to my long-standing column is that I have now fought every single budget battle since 2010 and have a column from that time period to show the receipts. Hence, I’m grounded in reality and not afflicted by the same political amnesia that others are.
Here’s that reality. Every single major budget bill that passed under McCarthy’s leadership as floor leader of the last GOP House, which was when the GOP controlled the trifecta and commanded full stewardship over the policies, was passed with more Democrat support than Republican support. It was simply unprecedented in modern history. Imagine the Biden-Schumer-Pelosi Congress passing budget bills nearly unanimously pleasing to Republicans but detested by their core base. Never going to happen, because they don’t have Kevin McCarthy equivalents.
The entire sole leverage point and entire purpose of the GOP controlling the House now is to use the must-pass budget bills to fight the most destructive and unpopular policies of the administration. McCarthy not only failed on every single budget bill as floor leader during the era of trifecta control, but he literally passed bills that were so palatable to the Left that nearly every radical Democrat support them, while any semi-conservative Republican opposed them. How can anyone suggest with a straight face that he McCarthy will somehow fight for us now? What about him shows that he is a changed man, and how are conservatives who raise these valid concerns somehow helping Democrats?
If you want to discuss helping Democrats, here is a synopsis of McCarthy’s budget record as majority leader during the Trump golden years.
Thus, who is the one who works with Democrats to pass the most critical bills? McCarthy was part of the leadership team that turned Trump’s critical years into the most Democrat-friendly bipartisan lovefest of any majority-control era ever.
McCarthy’s cheerleaders are trying to make the case that somehow he is a changed man and that somehow because of his oleaginous charm offensive with gullible conservative influencers, he is vastly better than McConnell. However, on the issues that matter, in the way they matter, and at the time they matter, he has not demonstrated even a little bit of a foxhole conversion. He refused to whip against the gay marriage bill in the House and to this day declines to publicly call on McConnell to oppose the omnibus bill in the Senate and give him control over the remainder of the FY 2023 budget process – literally a replica of what he did last time he was in the majority. Politico aptly describes his position as “hope yes, vote no.”
Furthermore, he has failed to even entertain any of the rules changes proposed by the Freedom Caucus, including the “majority of the majority” rule, which would prevent him from passing budgets with Democrat support. Most of these rules are not extreme right-wing demands, but basic ideas to decentralize power that would help augment the voices of Democrats and moderates as well.
Yet Donald Trump Jr. and the establishment are out pimping for McCarthy by accusing the Freedom Caucus members of somehow helping the Democrats by demanding a change in leadership from the man who turned Trump’s presidency into a Democrat lovefest:
The reality is that thanks to Don Jr.’s dad, McConnell, Ryan, and yes, Kevin McCarthy, Schumer bragged about winning every budget battle during Trump’s presidency. The only good outcomes under his presidency were the result of executive actions. The legislative front was a disaster, and McCarthy was in the thick of it.At some point, Republicans need to earn our votes, not demand them through scaremongering about the Democrats when they are the ones who agree with the Democrats on every issue that matters at the time it actually matters. “But the Democrats” has gotten old, given that echoing every important talking point of the left when the ball is actually in play is the GOP’s favorite pastime.