House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke on the House floor for more than eight hours on Thursday to delay a vote on President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill, The New York Times reports.
McCarthy broke House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s record for the longest House floor speech in history, speaking for 8.5 hours beginning late Thursday evening.
“Personally, I didn’t think I could go this long,” McCarthy bragged.
The House planned to vote on the BBB package Thursday night. Though McCarthy ultimately only delayed the vote until the following morning, The Times reported that his goal was to “secure the respect – and possibly the support – of his party’s restive conservatives” ahead of a bid for House speaker next year.
“You galvanize people, right? You catch people’s attention, and you demonstrate to them that we’re resolved to fight,” Texas Rep. Chip Roy told the Times. “Look, I want the leader to fight, and that was good. Go fight. Let’s fight more. Let’s throw everything we’ve got at this nonsense.”
Some Republicans unimpressed:
McCarthy, who is certainly not known for his oratory, rambled throughout much of the speech, hitting random Republican talking points along the way. He mentioned his friendship with Tesla founder Elon Musk, discussed Ronald Reagan’s missile defense initiative, and talked at length about the famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware River.
While some Republicans praised McCarthy, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Trump ally, was not impressed.
“While we heard Leader McCarthy speak for a great duration of time, it was like a really long death rattle,” Gaetz said. “The outcome was already determined as a consequence of poor leadership and poor strategy.”
Democrats roundly took shots at McCarthy throughout the night.
“It is a feat of epic proportions to speak for four hours straight and not produce a single memorable phrase, original insight or even a joke,” Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin tweeted. “McCarthy thinks he is a wit but so far he has proved he is only half right.”
“I think he wanted to say he did it longer than Nancy Pelosi,” wrote New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “But if he wanted to outdo her, he should’ve done it in stilettos.”
Pelosi released a statement dismissing McCarthy’s stunt as a “temper tantrum.”
"House Democrats are preparing to pass landmark legislation to lower costs, fight inflation and make big corporations and the wealthiest pay their fair share," the statement said. "But McCarthy is welcome to keep getting facts wrong on the House Floor."