- Democrats assailed McCarthy’s speech as erratic and rambling.
- Rep. Julian Castro of Texas told Insider it was “unhinged.”
- McCarthy’s stalling tactic ultimately pushed Democrats to briefly delay passage of the Biden bill.
House Democratic lawmakers had scathing assessments of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s hours-long speech aimed at obstructing passage of President Joe Biden’s social spending bill.
The California Republican took advantage of a procedural maneuver allowing party leaders to speak as long as they want. He veered between subjects far beyond the Democratic legislation at hand. McCarthy brought up hypersonic weapons, his inability to buy a Tesla despite being friends with company CEO Elon Musk, and Frederick Douglass.
Rep. Julian Castro of Texas told Insider he thought it was “unhinged.” Other Democrats agreed with him.
“Raising a young child, my six-year-old knows better than to behave like this especially in front of company,” Rep. Nakeema Williams of Georgia told Insider. “I think America is watching a meltdown.”
“He can continue to talk and the grown-ups will do the work to deliver for the American people,” she said.
Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, called McCarthy’s speech “ranting and rambling.” The Ohio Democrat, along with a dozen CBC lawmakers, left the floor once McCarthy began switching topics.
“We had enough at that point,” Beatty told Insider. “I organized the group to just leave at one of his ridiculous moments.”
House Democrats ultimately opted to delay passage of the social spending bill until Friday due to McCarthy’s stalling tactics.
“He wants to do it in the dead of night,” Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the second-ranked House Democrat, told reporters. “We are going to do it in the day.”
McCarthy showed no signs of letting up in the early hours of Friday evening. He appeared to be gunning for a record that Speaker Nancy Pelosi set in 2018 for the longest floor speech. At the time, she spoke for eight hours in a bid to defend young immigrants facing deportation.
A senior Democratic aide granted anonymity to speak candidly told Insider that “Leader McCarthy is welcome to continue his raving as late into the night as he wants.”