In 16 years in Congress, Kevin McCarthy has done very little legislating

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The Republican nominee for House speaker has written only eight laws in his eight terms in office.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the Republican caucus’ nominee to be House speaker in January, has been in Congress since 2007. During that time, he has authored just eight minor bills that have been signed into law.

After winning a narrow majority in the November midterm elections, House Republicans voted 188-31 on Nov. 15 to nominate McCarthy for speaker. He is currently struggling to convince his GOP detractors to support him when the full House votes in January.

On his House campaign site, McCarthy touts a “record of results,” claiming to be “A conservative with a rock-solid record of fighting for policies that will help build a productive economy, keep our country safe from foreign threats, protect families and the unborn, and get federal spending under control.”

But according to Congress.gov, that record includes authoring little significant legislation — even during his four-and-a-half years as House majority leader. Most of the legislation he wrote was inconsequential and did little to change public policy.

Two of his eight signed bills renamed post offices in his district in honor of country musicians, one for Buck Owens and one for Merle Haggard. Two more dealt with renaming a dam and NASA facilities.

McCarthy sponsored the 2015 U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, which expanded commercial space exploration and mining, and a minor 2016 bill relating to the regulation of commercial space launches.

He also wrote the 2018 Innovations in Mentoring, Training, and Apprenticeships Act, a bipartisan measure to establish federal grants for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs at junior and community colleges, and the 2017 TALENT Act, which made permanent President Barack Obama’s Presidential Innovation Fellows Program to bring successful business people into the government.

In addition to those eight signed bills, McCarthy sponsored two procedural joint resolutions that set the opening days for Congress in 2015 and 2016.

A McCarthy spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story about the impact of his legislation.

Meanwhile, both outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and incoming Democratic House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries of Louisiana have authored legislation with concrete benefits to the public. In 2008 Pelosi wrote the Housing and Economic Recovery Act to provide fixed-rate mortgages for people hurt by the subprime lending crisis and the Economic Stimulus Act to give taxpayers $300 relief checks. Jeffries sponsored the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act to fund the federal government’s operations.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.