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You can definitely count Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz in among those who were left unimpressed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s marathon floor speech Thursday night.
McCarthy, a Republican representative for the state of California, spoke all throughout the night and early Friday morning in a bid to stall the passage of the widely panned Build Back Better proposal.
“Let me be clear: Never in American history has so much been spent at one time — at one time. Never in American history will so many taxes be raised and so much borrowing to be needed to pay for all this reckless spending,” he said at one point during the 8-1/2 hour-long speech.
In speaking for so long, he “set a record for the longest continuous House speech in modern history,” according to The New York Times.
Despite this accomplishment, his Florida colleague wasn’t impressed.
“So while we heard Leader McCarthy speak for a great duration of time, it was like a really long death rattle. The outcome was already determined as a consequence of poor leadership and poor strategy,” Gaetz said Friday on Steve Bannon’s “War Room: Pandemic.”
“If we’d made the right strategic choices, we could’ve stopped this, but we didn’t because we confused leverage for momentum,” he added.
The rebuke came at the tail end of a rant in which he’d responded to a Fox News video clip of another one of his colleagues, “RINO” New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, defending her decision to vote for the “bipartisan” infrastructure package.
“Thank you, Fox News, for demonstrating what abject weakness looks like from elements of the Republican Caucus,” Gaetz’s response began.
“You know, a lot of these turncoats who helped pass this Biden agenda are members of the so-called Problem Solvers Caucus, but the only problem they really solved was Nancy Pelosi’s problem when she didn’t have the votes to pass legislation,” he added.
He wasn’t wrong. Signed into law earlier this very week, the “bipartisan” bill’s passage paved the way for the Build Back Better proposal to be passed next.
Prior to the smaller “bipartisan” bill’s passage, “moderate” Democrats had pledged to down-vote the Build Back Better proposal until the “bipartisan” package was voted on. So-called “progressive” Democrats had pledged similarly, but in reverse, saying they wouldn’t support the “bipartisan” bill unless BBB was voted on first.
By joining with Democrats and giving them the votes needed to easily pass the infrastructure bill, Republicans like Malliotakis made it significantly easier for Democrats to push through BBB.
To be fair, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and 18 of his GOP colleagues also contributed to the bill’s passage.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 11, 2021
“Here’s the key mistake: They thought that by passing a bad spending bill, they could stop a worse spending bill. They thought it would create leverage. The reality is that it created momentum. There was never a circumstance in today’s Washington where we were going to win one, and the democrats were going to win one. They were going to win it all, or we were going to win it all,” Gaetz continued.
“And you know what, it’s so frustrating, we had the ability to block everything. America would not be waking up to this attack on the dollar, attack on energy, attack on folks through the IRS if we would have blocked the infrastructure deal. And we were holding all the cards to be able to do that,” he added.
The good news is that the Build Back Better proposal still has to make it through the Senate and, as it stands, dissident Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin has virtually no incentive to provide his colleagues with the pivotal vote needed for its passage.
Polling data shows that he’s polling extremely well in his state of West Virginia, whereas the BBB proposal is polling very poorly:
New https://t.co/694sju1jzT poll: Joe Manchin has 60% approval compared to Biden’s 32%.
78% support Manchin’s efforts to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Nearly 74% said Manchin should oppose the president’s Build Back Better plan.https://t.co/XoMVkWqntU
— Marc Thiessen (@marcthiessen) November 18, 2021
Were he to support the proposal, he’d therefore likely jettison a tremendous amount of support from his constituents.
Still, the bill should have never even made it this far to begin with, Gaetz stressed.
“Had we stopped that infrastructure bill, there would have been no vote on the reconciliation spending bill today. We’re the ones who started this march to socialism because we allowed these 13 members to cross the line,” he said.
The Florida lawmaker then offered the solution that he’d apply if he were the one in power instead of McCarthy.
“John Katko needs to be removed as the Republican lead on the Homeland Security Committee. … I will say, at times, you don’t have to convert everyone. If you make examples out of a few, you’re able to obtain other conversions. We ought to ensure that John Katko is made an example of. He should be removed from leadership,” he said.
“The rest of the 13 … should be vanquished from leadership. And we ought to reset this caucus on a course to fight for our people and our values. And if we don’t, what the hell’s going to be the point of getting the majority back anyway!?” he added.
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