House Republicans Discuss Leadership Election Results CSPAN November 17, 2020 11:53pm-12:14am EST
c-span, the house is back attending m eastern for general speeches, legislative speeches at noon. they will take up for several bills from the foreign affairs committee. they also vote on whether to go to conference with the senate to work out differences on legislation that sets defense programs and policy for fiscal year 2021. on c-span2, this end returns at 10 a.m. eastern to consider judicial nominations. at the same time on c-span3, a confirmation hearing for the three nominees picked to serve as members of the federal election commission. later in the day, i senate governmental affairs subcommittee will see how federal agencies are handling telework during the coronavirus. that gets underway at 3 p.m. eastern. use your mobile devices and go to c-span.org for the latest video, live and on-demand. to follow the transition of power. president trump, president-elect biden, news conferences, and
coverage at c-span.org. today, house republicans held a briefing with reporters following their leadership election results for the upcoming 117th congress. we begin with current minority leader kevin mccarthy he was voted to stay on in that position next january. mr. mccarthy: thank you all very much. it's an honor to stand here today with this team. supported by our colleagues, to lead the republican conference in the 117th congress. i want to congratulate mike johnson and richard hudson, who is new to our team, and representing with the rest of our colleagues. over the past two years, our country has faced unbelievable challenges.
through every obstacle i couldn't be prouder of the priorities of this conference. i can say without a doubt this is the most united and energized republican conference i've been associated with. we made a commitment to america that we would work to restore our way of life, rebuild the greatest economy, and renew the american dream. we've also worked to keep america safe. after democrat leadership failed and bailed on our ability to work on the china task force, we went forward without them. to make a comprehensive blueprint to make sure we continue that america to the next century is ours. that we bring back the work, the jobs and the infrastructure into america. these efforts, contrasted with the dangerous democrat agenda, delivered a historic political upset. fueled by conservative women, minorities and veterans. as you all know, everybody predicted that the republicans would lose 15 to 20 seats. not one incumbent lost. on the democrat side, more than a dozen lost. much of that could be caused by nancy pelosi holding up any covid relief bill, simply for
playing politics, or spending their time defunding police or wasting their entire majority on an impeachment. republicans always focused on putting the people first, before politics. and we will continue to do that work. and this next congress, we might not be able to schedule the floor, but we are going to run the floor. with that, i'd like to turn it over to our whip, steve scalise. mr. scalise: thank you, kevin. i also want to congratulate our leadership team, it truly is an honor to be going into this next congress with such a great united team, kevin, our leader, conference chair, liz. mike johnson, the conference vice-chair. of course, gary coming back as policy and for richard coming in as well, welcome to you. tom emmer is also going to be joining our team again, as the nrcc chair. i think he's probably out recruiting right now for the 2022 class that's going to get
us back in the majority. it's been a battle the last two years to fight for the hardworking families of this country that felt left behind by washington for so long. and we delivered a lot of wins for them. but there are still big issues left unresolved. i'd like to see us in these next few months get another relief package, in these next few days, really, get another relief package for those hardworking businesses that are literally hanging on by a vine. those small businesses that we've been trying to help get another round of p.p.e., forgiveable loans so, we can save millions more jobs and speaker pelosi for whatever reason chose not to bring a bill to the floor that has wide bipartisan support. hopefully she reconsiders and does that. really over the next two years, we know what this fight for the future direction of our country is going to be about. it's truly a battle between freedom and socialism. and you saw voters across the country and all kinds of districts reject the socialist agenda that speaker pelosi
pushed for these last two years. she's going to have a tough decision to make. does she continue catering to the most radical far left elements of her conference, or does she work with republicans to get things done for hardworking families? it's going to be a choice she'll have to make as speaker, but we're not going to stop fighting for those hardworking families that make america work, that still are counting on us to work together for them. so we're going to continue battling for those hardworking families and fighting for those free market ideas that has always made america the greatest country in the world. i'll turn it over now to our newly re-elected conference chair, liz cheney. ms. cheney: thank you, steve. it's really an honor to be here with our leader and our whip, with mike johnson, our newly elected vice chair, gary palmer, re-elected as policy chair. and richard hudson, who is going to be our conference secretary. we've just come from our leadership elections and the
feeling in the room and the enthusiasm and the excitement about where we are and about the hard work ahead of us, the momentum and the energy to get that work done has been really remarkable. we have a tremendous class of incoming members, many of whom themselves have fought these challenges that we're fighting now. we've got four members of the incoming class who were born, whose families came to the united states from socialist countries, who have lived firsthand what it means when the government takes power away from the people. and when people lose their freedom. we are all absolutely committed to continue to fight against that and to make sure that the kinds of results that we saw in the house across this country are replicated and expanded in 2024. we also are committed to making sure that we do the work the american people sent us here to do. as the leader and the whip said, the speaker time and time again has proven that she's more concerned with placating the far left of her party than she is with actually getting things
done for the american people. whether you're talking about covid, whether you're talking about health care generally, the extent to which they've embraced socialism across the board. so we're committed to doing the work our constituents sent us here to do, to diagnose it together in a unified way -- to doing it together in a unified way so we can deliver, again, in a majority in 2022. with that, i'm going to turn things back over to our leader. mr. mccarthy: gary, want to say a few words? mr. palmer: i'm really looking forward to the opportunity to serve as policy chair. kevin provided great leadership in working with us to develop the commitment to america. and it's resulted in historic gains in the house for us. incredible diversity. we really reflect america. there's one part that's not part of our conference and that's the socialists. we have a conference that represents what most americans want to see. a conference that's committed to
putting american families and workers first. i'm proud to be a part of it. mr. hudson: thank you. richard hudson from north carolina. i'm honored to be part of this leadership team. i represent someone who had to win a tough election to come back. i understand what it takes to win back this majority. and i'll be a voice for all the folks in our conference. i'm very excited about working together in one unified message about what conservative principles can do to make america better for all americans and i believe that message is what's going to put us back in the majority in two years. thank you. mr. johnson: thanks. mike johnson of louisiana. we have a strong leadership team. we had a very encouraging meeting with all the new republican members. we filled the whole ballroom over at the hyatt. this is a really exciting time for us. we know we have a fateful two years ahead of us and we're ready for the challenge. i mentioned to my colleagues
just a simple thought that comes from ronald reagan and he is the one that reminded our party that it's time for us to raise a banner. he said of no pale pastels but of bold colors. we need to make sure that the people know, we need to be unmistakeably clear where we stand on issues that are troubling all the people. we live in troubling times. but we're very confident in our answers and we're going to paint with bold colors and we're going to lead this country out of this. we're going to get the majority back and we think our best days are ahead of us. grateful to be a part of the team. thanks, kevin. mr. mccarthy: thank you all. as you can see, our party, especially the incoming class, is more diverse than we've ever been. that's what makes us only stronger. we won from miami to new york to defeating a committee chair in minnesota, to iowa, to california. even the speaker's home state. but i'm proud to say it's my home state too. we still have a couple more seats out there. gaining in new jersey. i think our numbers are going to be well in the way to over 210.
that's going to be an exciting next two years. but we have work to do now as well. hopefully, speaker pelosi has put aside her partisanship and will put the american public first. when we departed last, we have a discharge petition on the floor, for all those people who work for a small business. the billions of dollars that are sitting there that can still be used or billions of dollars sitting there for the states. i know speaker pelosi had held a number of her democrats not to sign that discharge petition. if she won't act, we still should. all they have to do is sign the discharge petition. the bill can come to the floor. they want to vote against it, vote against it. but i watched what they said in their rhetoric back home. now's the opportunity for them to keep their word. so with that, let me open it up for questions, comments? reporter: how do you square the impressive gains that house republicans have made in states all over the place with the president's claims of all these
widespread voter fraud irregularities and so forth? i assume the same elections that were useful for you in california and minnesota and florida weren't also, you know, fraud-infested pits of illegality. mr. mccarthy: i think from one aspect, i've always believed that every legal vote should be recounted. every recount should be finished, just as they're going to do in iowa. just as we're watching in new jersey, new jersey seven, where the a.p. had called the race and now they had to pull it back. i think what the president's saying, the same exact thing. let every legal vote be counted. we've watched races that we're ahead on in pennsylvania, all of a sudden, sean parnell come from behind, when he was ahead by thousands of votes. we've watched races on the recount, let's finish them all. we have two in california still going forward. so it takes time. i think all the president is saying is, let's make sure we take the time that these races
are honest and accurate in the process. that's all. reporter: will you do anything differently in the future as regards to encouraging republicans to vote by mail if they think that's the safest way to do it? i mean, we've seen these shifts as votes have been counted that came in late. mr. mccarthy: as we sit back and look, i think we need some uniform when it comes to elections. absentee ballots have some protection to it. when you mail everybody a ballot that's on the rolls, we know there's problems. we watched in l.a. more than a million people on the rolls that don't even live there in that process. i watched in my own community the number of ballots that were sent to people who were dead, who no longer live there. you want the accuracy. i think that's something we have to be able to work through. some states mailed to everybody. i actually vote by absentee. but i have to apply for it. they check my signature. they send me the ballot after i have applied for it. when i send my ballot back in, my signature's on it, they check the signature before they open. i think those type of measures
are very important. and the process of voting in person. in california, you don't have to show an i.d. but i have to show an i.d. to get on an airplane. i think there's a number of things after this election, not based upon a republican or democrat, just from an accuracy point of view, i think we should sit down with a number of secretary of states and people across this nation and find a way that we can make sure we do this in a more secure and accurate way, that every vote is counted. reporter: what do you see your role as, as a minority, a large minority, with the president of the opposite party? is it similar to you what saw it as in 2009? mr. mccarthy: i think it makes no difference. our role is to make sure america's stronger. make sure america's secure. our first and foremost, we have what we need to do in the commitment to america. we need to defeat this virus. that's why we voted for operation warp speed. this is why we have two vaccines already in the process and more coming onboard.
we want to make sure we secure and make our streets safer. so don't defund the police, but add to it. we have an infrastructure bill, we have a bill that actually builds on our economy, to add 10 million new jobs. the challenge will be, we'll work with anybody who is in that office, but if they have a difference of opinion, we've got to -- we're going to have to find common ground. we're not for socialism or higher taxes. we will fight every step of the way. reporter: joe biden has positioned himself as somebody who is uniquely qualified to break a logjam that he sees existed on capitol hill. i'm curious what your reaction is to that. mr. mccarthy: well -- reporter: that's the calling card of his campaign pretty much. right? mr. mccarthy: well. his calling card of the campaign, if i listened to what former president joe biden said -- former president obama said is, there's no difference between joe biden and bernie sanders. if i watched what joe biden as a candidate said, he probably
pretty much surrendered to the socialists, letting them write the green new deal and others. i'm not sure. he was against fracking, then he said he was for it. i'm not sure which one showed up in the process. and if the election gets called in the manner of the way it's driving, we'll have to have that question. answered. yes. reporter: could you characterize how you see the party being different, moving beyond president trump in february, and if i could ask a follow-up, on serious negotiations, is anybody on this stage planning on being in a room with speaker pelosi negotiating, either before or after january? mr. mccarthy: we would negotiate with anyone. the challenge is, i've been through more than four of these negotiations, which ended in getting legislation from the cares act and forward. every time when all the leaders were in the room, we were able to make an agreement. the only time it has failed is when speaker pelosi has taken control. did it fail on purpose? i would say yes, that was her plan from the start.
to harm the economy in the hopes of defeating president trump. the election is over. i now would hope they would put the american public first. that would be the critical part. i think the four leaders were in the room, we could probably get to an agreement. the difficulty, you watched the administration themselves prior offering her more than $1.5 trillion and she declined it. why? she said, when you want to quote her back, i might not got get the quote right, she doesn't want any checks going out with president trump's name on it. she doesn't want the president to get any credit. shouldn't you foremost think if you're a speaker of the house, not about who gets the credit, but about what help will go to the american public? for those who are unemployed, for those small businesses that have a dream and watching it collapse simply because government is shutting them down. or to those employees that they strive to want to pay when you have p.p.p. money already sitting here appropriated but you're holding it up time and again. those are the real challenges
should end. we'll work with anybody to make that happen. but the unique part is, even if the speaker continues to play games, there's an opportunity because everybody in congress is elected by their own constituency, they can sign a discharge petition and make something happen. the question is, would we work with them? 39 times from this summer forward, we put bills on the floor with an opportunity to vote, when it came to relief packages. 39 times, the democrats have defeated it. so, the question really probably isn't to us. the question is to them. reporter: the first question, if you could characterize how you think the party may look different moving beyond president trump. mr. mccarthy: you're assuming president trump is moving on. i think the president, regardless of whether he's president again or citizen trump, i think he will continue to play a part in this nation. i look at the number of members who got elected. they got elected under president trump. the president helped them get elected in the process as well. and we expanded the party. so how is the party going to look different? it's going to look broader.
it's going to reach more people than it reached before. it's going to expand like we haven't seen. from new americans to first generations, to the expansion throughout. i think you're going to continue to see a desire to put america on a path where the next century is ours, that we have rebuilt our military, to continue that, to make it stronger. despite what the progressives would want to do on the opposite side. we've watched that we've looked forward in making our streets safe and secure, despite what the other side will want to do about defunding of the police. we watch what had we've been able to do with criminal justice, despite what joe biden had done as a senator, by locking more people up, just based upon the color of their skin. so, yeah, we'll continue to build on all those things that we believe in. yes. reporter: at what point do you think it's appropriate for president trump to concede the election? mr. mccarthy: i think when the election gets called in the process of the states. just as we have a number of seats inside the house that are
still counting. so if you ask my opinion, i think every legal vote needs to be counted. i think every recall needs to be finished and every legal challenge needs to be heard. when those are all done, yeah, that's the appropriate time that you'll know the outcome of the election. reporter: a follow-up as well. do you have any comment on the president's recent decision today on troop withdrawal from the middle east? mr. mccarthy: we want to make sure that we honor those who have fought and we honor our sacrifices but also our victories within at the same time. we want to make sure there are enough individuals still there that can protect the embassies, protect the gains that we have made. we're just coming through a part, this is something the president had planned to do. i think at the end of the time, you'll still see a number of american troops there. for security. you'll see others from nato participate as well. we want to see democracy
continue to grow. so thank you very much. >> house democratic leaders also held a briefing with reporters earlier today. they talked about the upcoming legislative agenda, the coronavirus pandemic and tomorrow's leadership elections for the upcoming 117th congress. this runs half an hour. mr. jeffries: good morning, everyone. thank you for your patience. it is right to be back in united states capital. we had our first caucus meeting this morning. we did virtually. subsequent to the november