McCarthy Says Sept. Agenda Will Confront Obama, Senate Democrats

Leader says House will pass bills on energy, jobs.

House Republican Whip, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, leaves a meeting of the House Republican conference June 18, 2014 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Sept. 4, 2014, 11:13 a.m.

House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Kev­in Mc­Carthy ex­cor­i­ated Pres­id­ent Obama’s hand­ling of the mil­it­ant group IS­IS on Thursday, writ­ing in a memo to his mem­bers that the ad­min­is­tra­tion has been “too pass­ive” to­ward ter­ror­ist groups in the Middle East and that mil­it­ary ac­tion is over­due.

As Obama huddles with world lead­ers at a NATO sum­mit in Wales, Mc­Carthy called on the pres­id­ent to lay out a clear strategy for how to de­feat IS­IS. His com­ments add to a grow­ing chor­us of bi­par­tis­an voices call­ing on the ad­min­is­tra­tion to act. But what, if any­thing, Con­gress can do re­mains un­clear. House com­mit­tees will hold a series of hear­ings over the next two weeks to try to find a path for­ward, Mc­Carthy noted, and the White House is ex­pec­ted to brief mem­bers as well.

“Amer­ica can­not shirk from this grave and grow­ing threat to our na­tion­al se­cur­ity,” he said. “We un­der­stand the ter­ror­ists’ war on the United States and our al­lies is not over and that mil­it­ary ac­tion against ter­ror­ist groups like [IS­IS] that pose a dir­ect and grow­ing threat to Amer­ic­an in­terests is over­due.”

Mc­Carthy said the House will vote to con­demn Obama for re­leas­ing five Taliban-af­fil­i­ated pris­on­ers in ex­change for United States Army sol­dier Bowe Ber­g­dahl, who was held cap­tive by the Haqqani net­work for five years in Afgh­anistan. A re­cent GAO re­port found that Obama did not ad­equately no­ti­fy Con­gress be­fore mak­ing the pris­on­er swap.

The for­eign policy ques­tions high­light a polit­ic­ally driv­en two weeks, which be­gin Tues­day when the House re­turns from a month­long re­cess. Mc­Carthy noted that the House will pass two pack­ages of bills, one fo­cus­ing on en­ergy and the oth­er on jobs, which will seek to high­light ahead of the pivotal elec­tion the myri­ad anti-reg­u­lat­ory bills the House has passed over the last Con­gress.

Those bills in­clude meas­ures to spur con­struc­tion of the con­tro­ver­sial Key­stone XL oil pipeline, ease reg­u­la­tions on coal min­ing and hy­draul­ic frac­tur­ing, and amend the Af­ford­able Care Act’s defin­i­tion of full-time work from 30 to 40 hours per week.

“We must con­tin­ue to put forth an agenda that fuels the re­viv­al of the Amer­ic­an Dream. And we must re­main com­mit­ted to un­apo­lo­get­ic­ally and boldly con­front­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and Sen­ate Demo­crats as they march to­ward gov­ern­ment in­tru­sion in every as­pect of our lives,” Mc­Carthy wrote.

Mc­Carthy made little men­tion of the only must-pass pieces of le­gis­la­tion fa­cing Con­gress: a con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion and a reau­thor­iz­a­tion of the Ex­port-Im­port bank. He wrote simply that Con­gress will pass a CR by Sept. 30, when cur­rent fund­ing runs out.

He did not men­tion the Ex-Im bank is­sue at all in the memo, but aides and mem­bers spec­u­late that the House will pass a short-term ex­ten­sion of the bank’s charter that will keep it fun­ded at least un­til after the Novem­ber elec­tions.

Drew Ham­mill, a spokes­man for House Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi, dis­missed Mc­Carthy’s ef­fort as a “bizarre memo” lack­ing in sub­stance.

“It is clear the House Re­pub­lic­an Ma­jor­ity has ab­so­lutely no agenda and no in­terest in do­ing any­thing oth­er than spout­ing re­hashed talk­ing points,” Ham­mill said. “Time and time again, this par­tis­an, part-time GOP Con­gress has turned its nose up and turned its back on the Amer­ic­an people. The Amer­ic­an people de­serve solu­tions from their elec­ted lead­ers — not the dis­trac­tion, dys­func­tion and dis­ar­ray of House Re­pub­lic­ans.”

The full memo is be­low:


TO: House Re­pub­lic­ans

FROM: Kev­in Mc­Carthy

DATE: Septem­ber 4, 2014

SUB­JECT: Septem­ber Agenda

“Hard work spot­lights the char­ac­ter of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.”

Sam Ewing

I hope every­one had a pro­duct­ive Au­gust and that you en­joyed time at home with your fam­il­ies and con­stitu­ents. After speak­ing with many of you throughout the month, what we’ve heard from our con­stitu­ents across the coun­try has been con­sist­ent - Amer­ic­an fam­il­ies simply can no longer af­ford the Obama eco­nomy. It is cost­ing them too much in job losses, re­duced wages, and high­er health­care, food, and en­ergy prices.

For years, Pres­id­ent Obama has tried to use Wash­ing­ton bur­eau­cracy to fix Amer­ica’s prob­lems. He has made plenty of prom­ises - a func­tion­ing and in­ex­pens­ive health­care sys­tem, a suc­cess­ful eco­nom­ic stim­u­lus, a new en­ergy eco­nomy and in­creased re­spect abroad, to name a few. Yet each and every one of these prom­ises has been broken.

We must con­tin­ue to put forth an agenda that fuels the re­viv­al of the Amer­ic­an Dream. And we must re­main com­mit­ted to un­apo­lo­get­ic­ally and boldly con­front­ing the Obama Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Sen­ate Demo­crats as they march to­ward gov­ern­ment in­tru­sion in every as­pect of our lives.

I don’t know if you caught this, but last Fri­day the Forest Ser­vice pub­lished an art­icle about how to roast marsh­mal­lows. 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.

Our gov­ern­ment today lacks com­mon sense and com­pet­ency. And the Amer­ic­an people know it.

Our con­ser­vat­ive agenda is about restor­ing com­pet­ency and com­mon sense in gov­ern­ment and giv­ing Amer­ic­ans the free­dom to live their lives, run their busi­nesses, and raise their fam­il­ies. It’s time to cre­ate a 21st Cen­tury gov­ern­ment that isn’t bogged down in un­ne­ces­sary med­dling and harm­ful reg­u­lat­ing, but is in­stead hon­est, simple, and ef­fect­ive. With a lim­ited num­ber of le­gis­lat­ive days be­fore the elec­tion, we will have a busy Septem­ber fo­cused on our vis­ion for prosper­ity and a gov­ern­ment that is ac­count­able to its people.

De­feat­ing our Ter­ror­ist En­emies

Be­fore turn­ing to the bills cur­rently sched­uled for floor con­sid­er­a­tion, I think it is im­port­ant to touch on the top­ic I know each of us is fo­cused on: the rise of ISIL, its ter­ror­ist activ­it­ies - in­clud­ing the bru­tal murders of in­no­cent Amer­ic­ans - and the es­tab­lish­ment of new ter­ror­ist safe havens and sanc­tu­ar­ies in the Middle East. Ter­ror­ist threats to the United States and its al­lies have grown ap­pre­ciably dur­ing the Obama Ad­min­is­tra­tion as the Al Qaeda net­work has meta­stas­ized. The Ad­min­is­tra­tion has been too pass­ive as these ter­ror­ist or­gan­iz­a­tions have been al­lowed to ac­quire new safe havens and grow in strength, wheth­er in Libya where An­sar al-Sharia ter­ror­ists killed 4 Amer­ic­ans in Benghazi in 2012, in Ir­aq and Syr­ia where ISIL has slowly and stead­ily built it­self in­to a ver­it­able ter­ror­ist army, or in Afgh­anistan where a re­sur­gent Taliban is on the of­fens­ive.

I be­lieve that it is crit­ic­al that we con­front and de­feat ISIL and like-minded ter­ror­ists who dir­ectly threaten Amer­ica. I - and I know many of you - have per­son­ally called on the Ad­min­is­tra­tion to ad­dress this grow­ing na­tion­al se­cur­ity chal­lenge. As we re­turn, our na­tion­al se­cur­ity com­mit­tees will con­tin­ue their ag­gress­ive over­sight work - in­clud­ing hear­ings with seni­or Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials - on both the rise of ISIL and what is ne­ces­sary to con­front and de­feat them. I an­ti­cip­ate that Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials will be up to brief all Mem­bers. In ad­di­tion, a num­ber of oth­er brief­ings by out­side ex­perts are cur­rently be­ing planned. These hear­ings and brief­ings will be ab­so­lutely crit­ic­al in help­ing us take the ap­pro­pri­ate steps ne­ces­sary to achieve our ob­ject­ive: the de­feat of our ter­ror­ist en­emies.

Amer­ica can­not shirk from this grave and grow­ing threat to our na­tion­al se­cur­ity. We un­der­stand the ter­ror­ists’ war on the United States and our al­lies is not over and that mil­it­ary ac­tion against ter­ror­ist groups like ISIL that pose a dir­ect and grow­ing threat to Amer­ic­an in­terests is over­due. That said, the Amer­ic­an people need to hear plainly from the Pres­id­ent about the nature of the threat and his strategy to con­front it.

Jobs and Eco­nom­ic Growth

In or­der to re­mind Harry Re­id and Sen­ate Demo­crats of our pos­it­ive solu­tions to build a ro­bust eco­nomy and foster job cre­ation, the House will send a single jobs pack­age to the Sen­ate as­sembled from the jobs bills House Re­pub­lic­ans have passed this Con­gress. This com­pil­a­tion bill will in­clude:

* H.R. 2575, the Save Amer­ic­an Work­ers Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Todd Young, which re­peals Obama­care’s 30-hour defin­i­tion of full-time em­ploy­ment;

* H.R. 899, the Un­fun­ded Man­dates In­form­a­tion and Trans­par­ency Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Vir­gin­ia Foxx, which equips Con­gress and the pub­lic with tools to de­term­ine the true costs of reg­u­la­tions;

* H.R. 2804, the Achiev­ing Less Ex­cess in Reg­u­la­tion and Re­quir­ing Trans­par­ency (ALER­RT) Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive George Hold­ing, Chair­man Bob Good­latte, Rep­res­ent­at­ive Doug Collins, and Rep­res­ent­at­ive Spen­cer Bachus, which pro­motes jobs, bet­ter wages, and eco­nom­ic growth through reg­u­lat­ory re­form;

* H.R. 367, Reg­u­la­tions From the Ex­ec­ut­ive in Need of Scru­tiny (REINS) Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Todd Young, which en­sures that Con­gress votes on all new ma­jor rules be­fore they can be en­forced;

* H.R. 1105, the Small Busi­ness Cap­it­al Ac­cess and Job Pre­ser­va­tion Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Robert Hurt, which pre­vents Dodd-Frank Act reg­u­la­tions from di­vert­ing cap­it­al from small- and me­di­um-sized busi­nesses;

* H.R. 2274, the Small Busi­ness Mer­gers, Ac­quis­i­tions, Sales, and Broker­age Sim­pli­fic­a­tion Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Bill Huiz­enga, which stream­lines reg­u­lat­ory re­quire­ments to help fa­cil­it­ate cap­it­al form­a­tion to grow small- and me­di­um-sized busi­nesses;

* H.R. 3474, the Hire More Her­oes Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Rod­ney Dav­is, which in­centiv­izes busi­nesses to hire vet­er­ans by ex­clud­ing them from Obama­care’s em­ploy­er man­date threshold;

* H.R. 1526, the Restor­ing Healthy Forests for Healthy Com­munit­ies Act, au­thored by Chair­man Doc Hast­ings, which will put Amer­ic­ans back to work by pro­mot­ing re­spons­ible tim­ber pro­duc­tion;

* H.R. 761, the Na­tion­al Stra­tegic and Crit­ic­al Min­er­als Pro­duc­tion Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Mark Amod­ei, which al­lows the U.S. to de­vel­op re­sources that are crit­ic­al to our eco­nom­ic com­pet­ive­ness;

* H.R. 3086, the Per­man­ent In­ter­net Tax Free­dom Act, au­thored by Chair­man Bob Good­latte, which pro­tects in­ter­net ac­cess for all Amer­ic­ans and fosters growth in the di­git­al eco­nomy;

* H.R. 4438, the Amer­ic­an Re­search and Com­pet­it­ive­ness Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Kev­in Brady, which makes the R&D Tax Cred­it per­man­ent, pav­ing the way for in­creased in­nov­a­tion and in­vest­ment in the U.S.;

* H.R. 4457, the Amer­ica’s Small Busi­ness Tax Re­lief Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Pat Tiberi, which makes sec­tion 179 ex­pens­ing per­man­ent en­sur­ing that our small busi­nesses have the cer­tainty they need to grow their busi­nesses and cre­ate jobs;

* H.R. 4453, the S Cor­por­a­tion Per­man­ent Tax Re­lief Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Dave Reich­ert, which provides the ne­ces­sary flex­ib­il­ity for S cor­por­a­tions to ac­cess cap­it­al and make new in­vest­ments; and

* H.R. 4718, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Pat Tiberi, mak­ing bo­nus de­pre­ci­ation per­man­ent in or­der to lower the cost of cap­it­al for busi­nesses.

Lower­ing Costs on Gas and Gro­cer­ies

With gas prices still hov­er­ing near $3.50 per gal­lon and en­ergy costs si­phon­ing too much out of fam­il­ies’ paychecks, we must en­act policies that en­cour­age an Amer­ic­an en­ergy re­volu­tion. That is why we will send to the Sen­ate a single, com­mon-sense en­ergy plan com­prised of House-passed bills fo­cus­ing on pro­duc­tion, in­fra­struc­ture, re­li­ab­il­ity, and ef­fi­ciency. This pack­age will in­clude:

* H.R. 3, the North­ern Route Ap­prov­al Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Lee Terry, which al­lows con­struc­tion of the Key­stone XL pipeline;

* H.R. 1963, the Bur­eau of Re­clam­a­tion Con­duit Hy­dro­power De­vel­op­ment Equity and Jobs Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Steve Daines, which stream­lines the de­vel­op­ment of hy­dro­power on fed­er­al lands;

* H.R. 2640, the Cent­ral Ore­gon Jobs and Wa­ter Se­cur­ity Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Greg Walden, which al­lows for con­struc­tion of a hy­dro­power fa­cil­ity at the Bow­man Dam;

* H.R. 2728, the Pro­tect­ing States’ Rights to Pro­mote Amer­ic­an En­ergy Se­cur­ity Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Bill Flores, which pro­tects Amer­ic­an en­ergy pro­duc­tion by re­cog­niz­ing states’ au­thor­ity to reg­u­late hy­draul­ic frac­tur­ing;

* H.R. 4801, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Adam Kin­zinger, which stud­ies the im­pact and cost ef­fect­ive­ness of thermal in­su­la­tion in fed­er­al build­ings;

* H.R. 3301, the North Amer­ic­an En­ergy In­fra­struc­ture Act, au­thored by Chair­man Fred Up­ton, which strengthens our part­ner­ships with Canada and Mex­ico in or­der to build a more se­cure and ef­fi­cient North Amer­ic­an en­ergy mar­ket;

* H.R. 6, the Do­mest­ic Prosper­ity and Glob­al Free­dom Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Cory Gard­ner, which ex­ped­ites the ex­port of U.S. li­que­fied nat­ur­al gas to our al­lies;

* H.R. 1582, the En­ergy Con­sumers Re­lief Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Bill Cas­sidy, which en­sures Con­gres­sion­al over­sight of en­ergy-re­lated rules cost­ing more than $1 bil­lion;

* H.R. 1900, the Nat­ur­al Gas Pipeline Per­mit­ting Re­form Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Mike Pom­peo, which mod­ern­izes the re­view pro­cess for nat­ur­al gas pipeline per­mit ap­plic­a­tions;

* H.R. 2641, the Re­spons­ible And Pro­fes­sion­ally In­vig­or­at­ing De­vel­op­ment Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Tom Marino, which es­tab­lishes a more stream­lined and trans­par­ent fed­er­al per­mit­ting pro­cess for con­struc­tion pro­jects;

* H.R. 3826, the Elec­tri­city Se­cur­ity & Af­ford­ab­il­ity Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Ed Whit­field, which pro­tects re­li­able and af­ford­able elec­tri­city sources;

* H.R. 2824, the Pre­vent­ing Gov­ern­ment Waste & Pro­tect­ing Coal Min­ing Jobs in Amer­ica Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Bill John­son, which pre­vents the Ad­min­is­tra­tion from de­vel­op­ing new, job-killing coal reg­u­la­tions; and

* H.R. 4899, the Lower­ing Gas Prices to Fuel an Amer­ica That Works Act, au­thored by Chair­man Doc Hast­ings, Rep­res­ent­at­ive Doug Lam­born, Rep­res­ent­at­ive Scott Tipton, and Rep­res­ent­at­ive Bill John­son, which re­moves fed­er­al gov­ern­ment bar­ri­ers that block pro­duc­tion of U.S. en­ergy sources off­shore and ex­pands on­shore Amer­ic­an en­ergy pro­duc­tion by stream­lin­ing gov­ern­ment red-tape and reg­u­la­tions.

The House will also con­sider H.R. 5078, the Wa­ters of the United States Reg­u­lat­ory Over­reach Pro­tec­tion Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Steve South­er­land, which pro­tects the long-stand­ing fed­er­al-state part­ner­ship in the reg­u­la­tion of our wa­ters. The Obama Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s fed­er­al power grab - at­tempt­ing to lit­er­ally define puddles as nav­ig­able wa­ter­ways so they can reg­u­late them - will have broad, neg­at­ive im­pacts on a wide range of U.S. in­dus­tries, most not­ably ag­ri­cul­ture. Pla­cing ad­di­tion­al bur­dens on our hard-work­ing farm­ers will res­ult in high­er food prices for Amer­ic­an fam­il­ies and I com­mend the Trans­port­a­tion & In­fra­struc­ture Com­mit­tee for its com­mit­ment to ad­dress­ing this im­port­ant is­sue.


While the Pres­id­ent has failed to live up to his “if you like your plan, you can keep it” prom­ise, House Re­pub­lic­ans re­main com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing Amer­ic­ans from the crush­ing costs of Obama­care. An es­tim­ated 11 mil­lion small busi­ness em­ploy­ees could find them­selves neg­at­ively im­pacted by the in­creas­ing premi­um costs as­so­ci­ated with this law. That is why House Re­pub­lic­ans will pass H.R. 3522, the Em­ploy­ee Health Care Pro­tec­tion Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Bill Cas­sidy, which en­sures that these work­ers can, in fact, keep the plan they have and like.


Thanks to the great work of Chair­man Dar­rell Issa and the Over­sight & Gov­ern­ment Re­form Com­mit­tee and Chair­man Dave Camp and the Ways & Means Com­mit­tee, House Re­pub­lic­ans have not only been un­waver­ing in our pur­suit of the truth be­hind the IRS tar­get­ing, but have put forth solu­tions to pre­vent fed­er­al agen­cies and their em­ploy­ees from breach­ing the trust of the Amer­ic­an people.

To fol­low on to the great work we have already done on this is­sue, the House will con­sider a series of bills from the Ways & Means Com­mit­tee that will au­thor­ize the Sec­ret­ary of the Treas­ury to dis­close in­form­a­tion about the in­vest­ig­a­tions re­gard­ing leaked tax­pay­er in­form­a­tion to vic­tims; pro­hib­it any IRS of­ficer or em­ploy­ee from us­ing a per­son­al email ac­count to con­duct of­fi­cial busi­ness; and co­di­fy the tax­pay­er right to ap­peal the IRS’s de­term­in­a­tion of a group’s ap­plic­a­tion for tax-ex­empt status. We will also con­sider H.R. 5169, the Seni­or Ex­ec­ut­ive Ser­vice Ac­count­ab­il­ity Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Tim Wal­berg, which makes Seni­or Ex­ec­ut­ive Ser­vice em­ploy­ees sub­ject to the same em­ploy­ment stand­ards as oth­er civil ser­vice per­son­nel, and H.R. 5170, the Fed­er­al Re­cords Ac­count­ab­il­ity Act, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Mark Mead­ows, that es­tab­lishes a pro­cess for re­mov­ing a fed­er­al em­ploy­ee for the falsi­fic­a­tion, theft, or de­struc­tion of a fed­er­al re­cord.

You may have also seen the re­cent GAO Re­port con­firm­ing that the Ad­min­is­tra­tion vi­ol­ated the law in its re­lease of five Taliban ter­ror­ists from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The law is clear, and there­fore the House will con­sider H. Res. 644, au­thored by Rep­res­ent­at­ive Scott Ri­gell, which con­demns the fail­ure to com­ply with the stat­utory re­quire­ment to provide ad­vance no­tice to Con­gress.

Fi­nally, the House will also pass a Con­tinu­ing Res­ol­u­tion that will con­tin­ue gov­ern­ment op­er­a­tions as they are on Septem­ber 30th in­to the new fisc­al year.

I look for­ward to see­ing you all next week as we work to build a bright­er fu­ture for our coun­try.

In the mean­time, let’s see who will be the first to cor­rectly identi­fy the room in which the Brit­ish star­ted the fire that des­troyed most of the Cap­it­ol on Au­gust 24, 1814.

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