Rep. Kevin McCarthy is the driving force behind a new initiative that seeks to involve ordinary Americans in government policy — and he tells Newsmax that nothing is more powerful than “the common voice from the common man.”
The California Republican also criticizes the federal government for “inaction” on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and charges that Democrats are intent on raising taxes by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire.
McCarthy, first elected in 2006, is chief deputy Republican whip. He heads America Speaking Out, “an official effort of House Republicans to involve the American people in creating a new policy agenda for Congress. The project gives Americans a chance to have their voices heard in setting the nation’s policy priorities and crafting a new governing agenda,” according to the initiative’s website.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, McCarthy discusses the impetus behind America Speaking out.
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“For so long, you find that Washington has not been listening to the people,” he says.
“There’s nothing more powerful or inspirational than the common voice from the common man. The best ideas are not sitting here in Washington, they’re throughout the country.
“Republicans have been offering alternatives and better ideas and solutions all the way through the last two years. But we’re only 177 [Republican members of the House], so for our ideas to win we need the power of the people. America Speaking Out allows anybody to come in, submit an idea, vote on that idea, debate an idea.
“Here in Washington, you don’t get committees, you don’t get amendments, and they draft a bill and throw it on the floor before members have even read it. We believe that’s the wrong way to move government.”
With America Speaking Out, “I think people will be talking about jobs, talking about spending and the debt we have, talking about national security. All those will be part of it as we move forward on how to solve problems.”
Anyone wanting to participate can simply go to the website AmericaSpeakingOut.com, McCarthy says.
On another issue, McCarthy addressed Rep. Joe Sestak’s claim that he was offered a job in the Obama administration if he dropped plans to challenge Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary. On Friday, the White House released its scenario of the Sestak overture.
Before that White House disclosure, McCarthy was asked whether the call from some Republicans for an investigation to determine whether a criminal or impeachable act was committed will endure.
“I think it does have legs for a lot of different reasons,” he declares.
“Is this a pattern of this White House, of how they handle things? America is looking for some truth in what really transpired.”
Regarding the gulf oil spit, McCarthy says the biggest problem is “the federal government’s inaction in cleaning it up.”
He tells Newsmax that a congressman from Louisiana said he contacted the White House to talk about the cleanup effort and was told the president was too busy to speak with him, although Obama has found time in recent days to go golfing and fly to California for a fundraiser.
McCarthy says he agrees with the assertion that the spill “very well could be the president’s Hurricane Katrina.”
Responding to a question about the new Arizona law to combat illegal immigration, McCarthy says: “You look at the federal government not acting, so it’s put upon the states.
“We have to be able to reform the ability of individuals to come here legally. We have to be able to protect our borders. We have to be able to have a sound system where an individual can come in for work purposes and [we can] assure they leave as well. That doesn’t mean amnesty, but I think that’s doable.”
Asked whether there are any efforts in Congress to deal with the Bush tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year, McCarthy responds: “Not by the majority. The majority wants them to fade away, which is a vote for tax increases.
“And the difficulty here is, we have a weak economy. This is the first time since the Depression that we’ve had a whole election cycle where unemployment has been above nine percent. We should be focusing on jobs, not just naming post offices.”
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