Transcript for McCarthy delivers remarks on ousting Omar from committee
- Yesterday, I had a meeting with the President. I got to see the President again this morning. I liked that he said it was a good meeting as well to me. No predetermined ideas, but we're going to meet again about the debt ceiling and ways that we can find ways for savings, and put ourselves on a path to balance. I think that's very important.
If you look, any of the latest polls, 74% of Americans believe there has to be some savings in what we're spending. We're at 120% of GDP, meaning our debt is larger than our economy. It's one of the greatest threats we have to this nation.
And when I look at it, if you look at just the last 12 years in Congress, Republicans controlled eight years of that, and Democrats controlled four. In the last four years that the Democrats controlled, they increased discretionary spending by 30%, more than $400 billion.
Now, we had controlled it for twice as long. Discretionary spending during those eight years didn't go up $1. They actually went down $10 billion. So I know we can find savings and get our economy stronger.
When Republicans were in the majority, we were able to pass that tax package. Revenue into the government has never been higher. It's the highest revenue we've ever seen in. So it's not a revenue problem, it's a spending problem. So we'll continue to work on that.
A couple of interesting things happened on the floor right now. If you combine the number of Democrats who voted no and voted present, there's 100 Democrats that won't stand up against socialism. That's a real concern to me in America today.
That wasn't a college vote on a college campus. That was a vote in the US Congress, that 100 Democrats couldn't say socialism was wrong. That's a scary point of view.
But you also understand why we're in a spending problem that they are, when they were in the majority. That's why you understand the challenges that we have here. So let me stop there and take any questions you might have. Yes, Sir?
REPORTER: You and the White House said that the president's open to talking about the debt ceiling and a separate discussion about ways to control spending. I mean, what do you think about when you hear that, that they want to separate those two--
- Whichever way they want to talk about it, I'm very clear-- we will not pass a clean debt ceiling here without some form of spending reform. So there'll never be a clean one. I don't know how they want to say it, that's fine. But at the end of the day, we're going to get spending reforms.
I believe you have to lift the debt ceiling. But you do not lift the debt ceiling without changing your behavior. So it's got to be both.
REPORTER: Some of your own members who had voted for this Omar resolution, like Congresswoman Mace and Congressman Gonzales, are concerned of what they see as sort of a tit-for-tat retribution that your new majority is taking against a Democratic member of the House. Is this the message you want to send to voters as you come into power here?
- No, and that's the clear part, how it's not tit for tat. So let's just put it in perspective of what the Democrats did, and what Republicans are doing. So the Democrats in the last Congress removed Republican members from all committees. They even judged one Republican member not based upon what she had said as a member of Congress, but what she said prior to ever getting here. And they removed her from all committees.
I'm not removing people from all committees. And I'm not judging something that someone said when they're not a member of Congress. Now, the first two people, we did not allow to be on Intel.
If you got the briefing I got from the FBI-- and I know you all personally believe it as well, simply as an American, you know Swalwell should not serve on the Intel. I'd love to take a show of hands here. How many believe if you're a member of Congress, and the FBI says nothing, but the moment your leadership appoints you to the Intel Committee, the FBI comes knocking on the leaderships door and says, we have a problem, this person has a relationship with a Chinese spy-- how many believe that person should stay on Intel?
So yes, it's not the same. And he's no longer on Intel. But there are a number of other Democrats concerned. Now, the chairman of the Intel Committee, Adam Schiff, I actually believe I helped him.
Because what he did to the Intel Committee-- he used that position as chairman, knowing classified information that others didn't, and he conveyed to the American public something that was not true to try to confuse them on a number of times. From the whistleblower-- even The Washington Post acknowledged that that is true.
What he did when he went after Devin Nunes, even the inspector general said he was lying about that. He turned the Intel Committee into an impeachment committee.
So now, Schiff serves on Judiciary. That is actually the committee for impeachment. That is where he should serve. So now, the Intel Committee would go back to the responsibility that it has to protect the American public.
Now, when it comes to Congresswoman Omar, based upon what she had said, the anti-Semitic comments-- it's all about the Benjamins, the military in America is equal to Hamas and the Taliban, on 9/11, something happened that day-- even the former Democratic chair of the committee believed her comments were wrong.
When a resolution was brought up to deal with this last time, she never apologized. They changed the resolution to say anti-Semitism is wrong. We're not removing her from other committees. We just do not believe when it comes to foreign affairs, especially the responsibility of that position around the world, with the comments that you make, she shouldn't serve there.
But this is what the clear-- if it was tit for tat, we would have picked people, took 'em off all committees, and said nothing about it. We don't believe in that. I just had a conversation with the Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.
What I asked him to do was to select a couple members, along with himself in mind. And I have a couple of members, and one's going to be Nancy Mace to help, and Ken Buck, and some others. And I think what we should do is put into the rules--
There is a code of conduct here. But I don't know the definition, exactly, what all that's going to mean. I think that should be clear.
So if there is a concern, it's not tit for tat. But I think in moving forward, every single member of Congress has a responsibility to how they carry themselves.
Let me finish the question. And it's responsible upon us to let them know what that is, and then what is the due process, in a bipartisan way, that we can deal with it. So I'm going to put a group of Democrats that Hakeem will select, and a group of Republicans, and we'll work to come and clarify the rules, and pass something for not only this Congress, but future Congresses as well.
REPORTER: There's an acrimony right now in Congress. We've seen it play out in many of these committee hearings, where members are calling each other names, this vote with Congresswoman Omar as a backdrop against this. With the acrimony between Republicans and Democrats right now, how can the American people be confident that you'll be able to get things done?
- Because this is nothing like the last Congress, where you remove somebody from all committees. This is nothing like the last Congress, where you have a Speaker that tells Republicans they can't even be on committees. This is nothing like the last Congress, where they would deny the rights for bills to even go through committee. This is nothing like the last Congress, where you never had an open rule.
So let's just judge the few weeks we've had now to the last Congress. This is the first time in seven years any bill has come to the floor in an open rule, almost a decade since that has come to-- a bill has come to the floor that's not an appropriation bill.
Look at what we've also done in the first week-- in a bipartisan way, 146 Democrats joined with us where we opened a select committee on China. This is actually a fundamentally different Congress. I've had Democrats coming up to me, telling me we're running it much better, especially the time allotment. They like the openness and the working.
I'll give you another example for an-- inner workings, right? There's times that I was going to be given a briefing. I call up the Minority Leader-- take the briefing with me.
Because there's ways that I look at-- the way we were treated in the past, I don't think was right. And I'm glad you asked this question because this is a much different Congress, much more-- now, the public can actually be here. You can be here, which-- how different is that?
The public is going to be back in the people's house. We're going to have a State of the Union where the public can actually watch it. So yeah, I'm really excited how this is so different than the last Congress.
- I'm really picking one side. Yeah, that's right. Let me come back to you. Go ahead. Yeah, that's unfair. I was really going--
REPORTER: On Hunter Biden and his calls for a federal investigation now into the dissemination of the laptop, how is that going to impact your own investigations into him?
- I don't think any way. I think it's delayed, and it's tactics. I think it's an attorney tactic to try to stop something. The one thing I will say from that, he's acknowledging now it is his laptop. So he was a little slower than the rest of the papers, and Twitter, and the others, but now we know that it's true.
And I think the investigations here, the uniqueness is you'll have Republicans and Democrats. And we'll get to the bottom of all that.
REPORTER: And then just a follow-up, just on Secretary Mayorkas, there's obviously now people calling for articles of impeachment. What about a timeline? When can we see an inquiry happen?
- Well, listen, we will never use impeachment for political reasons. It's just not going to happen. That doesn't mean if something rises to the level of impeachment, we would not do it.
So what you're finding now, committees have just now been organized. I said early on, going down to the border a number of times-- fortunately, the President finally went down the border after 40-some years-- we can't sustain what's happening.
Every community now is a border community. We're watching fentanyl. In my own community, a cartel came in and killed six people-- a young baby shot in the head. The fentanyl, that is just decimating the most productive years of Americans between the ages of 18 and 45.
So what you'll find is in the last month, even though we said we were going to have an inquiry, in December, we hit the highest number we've ever hit. So what you'll find is the committees are together. They'll start the inquiry and let it go wherever it takes them.
REPORTER: Do you think you have the confidence of the conference to move forward with an inquiry?
- Oh, yeah, I think Democrats will join with us, too. Nobody wants to see the border the way it is today. I'll go back here--
REPORTER: Speaker McCarthy, I just want to get you to comment on some of the things that Leader Jeffries said. He had a press conference before you. He had these posters up of some of the words that members of your conference have said in the past. So can you just respond to some Democrats who--
- I wasn't at the press conference, so can you tell me an example?
REPORTER: Well, I'm just saying he-- for example, he had comments from Marjorie Taylor Greene up.
- Is she on Foreign Affairs?
REPORTER: No, no--
- Is she on Intel? OK, I make my case. Next question.
REPORTER: You've been talking about the meeting with the President again following these discussions. Do you have a timeline for your next meeting with him? And realistically, what are the next steps?
Are you going to bring some members, perhaps, to meet with him at the White House? Are you bringing some Democrats as well? What's the next step in the process?
- OK, the next step is very clear. We left it that he'll give me a call in a couple of days to set up the next meeting, not who would come, not any of that.
Today, I got to see him at the prayer breakfast. He sat next to me, and he said, very good meeting. I thought his comments up at the prayer breakfast, that we're going to treat people with respect, and he followed to me-- and I have respect for the President. And I want to be very responsible with how we deal with it.
I was very clear with the President-- we should not wait five months. Let's not put America through turmoil, right? I mean, I looked at the latest polling-- the greatest fear people have is government.
They want their government to actually work. We have a government that's designed-- we have a government that the American public decided to have a check and balance, where Republicans are in charge of the House, Democrats in the Senate, he has the Presidency.
So I believe the most sensible way to do this is we sit down together, and we start talking. Yesterday, I know before, he said he wouldn't negotiate. But yesterday was a very nice conversation for more than an hour. It doesn't mean we agreed, but we staked out different positions.
And I think at the end of the conversation, between both of us, we thought, you know what? This is worthwhile to continue. We're going to continue it.
- He's going to come back to me, yeah.
REPORTER: With regards to the classified documents, we've seen pressure in the Senate right now, threats to the Biden administration in order to get that briefing, specifically from Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Intel Committee. Does the House have its own plans to apply pressure on the Biden administration in order to get the briefing that Congress is--
- Yeah, I mean, this is-- take away what we're talking about. But the House and Senate have a constitutional right to oversee this. These agencies do not have a right to withhold information to members of Congress, and especially in the Intel Committee.
So you will see members inside the House Intelligence Committee to join with the Senators as well. It's just purely-- it's the jurisdiction of Congress.
REPORTER: On immigration, what's going to happen with Chip Roy's bill on HR 29? Tony Gonzales has spoken out against it over language about asylum. How would Republicans--
- Look, when we deal with immigration, a lot of members have a lot of different positions. Both of those members from Texas have a lot to say. Tony represents almost 2/3 of all the border. He has a lot of great input in there.
Whatever comes through is going to come through committee. And I members are working together to try to find a place to get there. So I think at the end of the day, we'll try to find out what the very best policy-- I think there'll be a number of bills. And we'll run it through the floor.
REPORTER: When will Republicans actually put pen to paper on a spending cuts plan?
- And give them to you?
REPORTER: And give them to the President.
- Well, we've talked to the President many times, but I'm not going to negotiate this in the press. I'm sorry. You can ask this many times--
REPORTER: I'm not asking for details. What's the timeline on that?
- The timeline we have is, he's going to call me back, and we'll get back together in a meeting.
REPORTER: One of the members you elevated to a committee, the first thing--
- One of the members? I elevated a lot of people. We went from the minority to the majority. You know what happens when that happens? You get a lot more slots, so you've got to put a lot more people on committees. But go ahead.
REPORTER: One of the first things Marjorie Taylor Greene said from the Oversight dais was that Ashli Babbitt was murdered. Do you think Ashli Babbitt was murdered, or do you think the police officer who shot her was doing his job?
- I think the police officer did his job.
REPORTER: There is an increasing conversation again about police in this country, policing in this country. We know your statement about Tyre Nichols.
REPORTER: Should and are Republicans looking into police reform in the House? Are you working on that? Do you want to be part of talks?
- What happened to Tyre Nichols is appalling and just unapproachable. We want the Justice Department to work. We want justice to be given.
I've always believed, in any situation like this, you should gather all the information. I've had a couple of conversations with Tim Scott, who's really been a lead on many of these cases. We've also-- with Jim Jordan and others. And we'll make sure we get all the information back and work forward based upon it, if there's--
REPORTER: You've expressed some willingness in the past to work with Democrats to remove some of-- or replace some of the slaver art, like the depictions of slavers and Confederates here in the Capitol. As Speaker, you have a lot of power over the artwork that gets displayed in this building. Is that something you're thinking--
- Well, I remember when the Democrats brought up removing of a couple of statues. I thought they should have gone further. Because the interesting part is, I think they should change the name of their own party.
Because when you think about it, every statue that came was voted on by a state legislature that was a Democrat majority, that was sent to Congress as a Democrat majority accepted it. There's not one Republican that you have to take down. There's not one Republican in the process.
Remember how our party created-- our very first President was Abraham Lincoln. The greatest challenge ever to our Constitution was the Civil War. But I think if the Democrats are truthful about moving forward on what they want to remove, they should remove the name of their party as well. Because that was the name that they provided, and circled around, and move forward.
So look, I'm very proud, if you come into my office-- Joseph Rainey, the first Black American ever elected to Congress. He was a Republican. And I watched what the Democrats did by bringing us Jim Crow laws to the South, going after Black Americans getting elected to Congress, holding us back so far.
So no, if I was a Democrat, I wouldn't be proud of their legacy. I wouldn't be proud of their history. And I'd want to change it.
REPORTER: Democrats are arguing that the difference between last Congress, when they voted those Republicans off committees, and Omar during this vote is that there's a lack of accountability. Because they say that you specifically have not condemned Marjorie Taylor Greene or Paul Gosar. What is your reaction to that?
- They're totally wrong. I can't even believe you asked that question. Think what you just asked, what they said, that somehow there's-- every single Democrat voted to remove Marjorie Greene on something she said before she ever came to Congress. So they wanted to override what the American people in her district decided.
Then they removed Gosar from every single place. And what did we see when Congress reconvened right now? Gosar and AOC sitting together, having a great conversation.
Now, they get upset. They want to fight really hard to keep a member of their conference who had a relationship with a Chinese spy on the Intel Committee. I can't believe you defend or even ask the ques-- I can't believe they would even defend that.
Then they want to defend Schiff, who lied to the American public. Then they want to defend Omar. I'm not removing her-- I'm not removing any of them from all committees like they did. They cheered when they did that.
We simply looked at our foreign affairs of what the rest of the world looks like, where she sat and gave anti-Semitic comments-- even people in her own party said it. I bet if Eliot was here today, the former chair, he would have voted with us.
She said the American military was equal to Hamas and the Taliban-- from a member of the Foreign Affairs. She said Americans only like Israel because it's all about the Benjamins. And three years later, she says, I didn't know there's a trope when it comes to referring to someone who is Jewish with money.
She said on 9/11, on 9/11, as a member of Congress, as an individual sitting on Foreign Affairs, something happened that day. What does that say to other people around the world? What does that say to somebody else who wants to create another 9/11 America? I'm sorry, it's not right.
We were right in our action. And she can serve on other committees. But it puts America in jeopardy. And I'm not going to do that under my watch. And it's fair in the process, unlike them.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.