McCarthy says Congress shouldn't work on infrastructure because of Afghanistan


House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy thinks there should be no action on infrastructure or voting rights until the Afghanistan evacuation is complete.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy excoriated the Democratic majority in Congress on Tuesday for having the nerve to advance popular legislation to protect voting rights and invest in infrastructure. He said none of this should be happening until every American has been evacuated from Afghanistan.

McCarthy's comments came during debate on a rule to establish a path forward on the $550 billion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill to invest in climate and human infrastructure, and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

The California Republican tweeted Tuesday afternoon, "The Democrats in Washington care more about Big Government Socialism than getting Americans home from Afghanistan. I'm headed to the House floor to call them out for their disgraceful priorities."

"The House is meeting for the first time since Kabul fell to the Taliban, but Democrats are doing nothing to help Americans stranded in Afghanistan," he added. "Instead, they're bickering over their Socialism Now bill. Shows you where their priorities lie."

McCarthy then delivered an angry floor speech demanding that the majority scrap all action on these and other priorities for as long as it takes to evacuate Americans from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

"We should be doing nothing else on this floor until every single American is home," he opined. "It's too important to deal with anything else."

McCarthy demanded that Democrats "release the floor" to the GOP minority and allow immediate consideration of legislation offered by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) that would force President Joe Biden to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan for as long as it takes to evacuate every single American who wants to leave.

The Biden administration is already working on mass evacuation. Since Aug. 14, the United States and its coalition partners have evacuated tens of thousands of people, including more than 10,000 on Aug. 21 and 22 .

McCarthy has made clear that he opposes the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which would fund improvements to the nation's transportation, water system, electrical, and broadband infrastructure.

He and every member of his caucus also oppose the reconciliation plan, which would invest even more money in clean energy, child care, health care, and other priorities.

They also oppose the voting rights bill, which would restore federal voting rights protections that were stripped from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by Supreme Court rulings in 2013 and 2021.

Polls show strong public support for the Democrats' agenda.

Large majorities — and even many Republican voters — back both the infrastructure and the budget packages.

A July survey also showed that 56% of Americans agree that "making sure that everyone who wants to vote can do so" is more important than "making sure that no one votes who is not eligible."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.