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McCarthy: GOP Must Show It Can Govern to Win in 2016

McCarthy: GOP Must Show It Can Govern to Win in 2016
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. (Larry French/Getty Images)

Monday, 27 October 2014 09:52 AM

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has warned that the GOP must make "radical changes" in the next two years if it takes control of the House and the Senate in the midterms — or the party will lose the 2016 presidential race.

"I do know this: If we don't capture the House stronger, and the Senate, and prove we could govern, there won't be a Republican president in 2016," the Californian congressman told a group of donors in Hauppauge, New York, Politico reports.

McCarthy, the former House whip who replaced Eric Cantor as leader, is planning to build bridges with Republican senators so they can reach voters with one voice, and he's already been talking to South Dakota Sen. John Thune about strengthening ties between the two chambers.

"My belief is, you have one chance to make a first impression," McCarthy told Politico during a series of interviews. "From the very first day after the election, we should be laying out to the American public what the expectations are. Why make two different agendas?"

McCarthy says he initially hopes to use the potential lame-duck session of Congress to pass a long-term government-funding bill, as well as renew several business-related tax provisions and the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, both of which have bipartisan support.

"If we are fortunate to have both majorities, take away any [fiscal] cliff you can have hanging out there," McCarthy said. "If you have a cliff, it takes attention away. Why put cliffs up that hold us back from doing bigger policy?"

McCarthy will also be pushing less controversial bills ranging from energy to healthcare to taxes, which could divide Democrats and end up being vetoed by President Barack Obama, setting up a talking point in 2016, according to Politico.

Although the lawmaker may give the green light to the introduction of a comprehensive immigration bill in the House, he noted that if Obama goes it alone in the "worst way" with executive orders, that would "stop everything."

McCarthy is taking a different approach than Cantor in his new position, which he took over in August. He is taking more meetings with committee chairmen, and he's called on House members for "near-universal buy-in" on legislation, Politico reports.

While saying that having been the whip first had made him a "better leader," McCarthy continued, "The one thing I've viewed as all the problems being in leadership is that the conference sits there and thinks, 'Well, the leader picks and chooses and [we] take the blame.'

"If you notice, since I became leader, I put more buy-in for people. The part I've watched from being the whip, the challenges I had there, [bills] came [to the floor] before members knew what they were, or before we could vet them. I was trying to force something that we could've passed with more votes if we had it earlier."

McCarthy says there's a "75 percent" chance the GOP will take the Senate, while noting that if the Democrats maintain control of the upper chamber it will be a tough for him personally and for the public.

"If it stays Democratic, it's going to be a frustrating time," he told Politico.

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House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has warned that the GOP must make "radical changes" in the next two years if it takes control of the House and the Senate in the midterms — or the party will lose the 2016 presidential race.
Kevin McCarthy, GOP, 2016, prove, govern, win
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Monday, 27 October 2014 09:52 AM
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