HH: I’m joined now from Bakersfield, California by an old friend, Kevin McCarthy, who is the majority leader of the House of Representatives, and likely the next Speaker of the House when the GOP retains its majority, as I hope, after the fall election and the retirement of his good friend, Speaker Paul Ryan. Welcome back, Mr. Majority Leader, good to have you.
KM: Well, thank you so much for having me back on your show, Hugh.
HH: Let’s begin, if we can, Kevin McCarthy, with a story that was in your Twitter feed on Thursday from Vice.com. In California, Google has decided that the search term California GOP brings up Nazi ideology. What’s your reaction to this?
KM: Well, this is disgusting. So if anybody went and searched it through Google, which is the biggest search engine, 90% of everything on the internet that’s searched goes through Google, the ideology didn’t say the party of Lincoln or the party of Reagan. It said our ideology was Nazism. They said they pulled that from Wikipedia. The tough part is I was, talked about this beforehand, and I looked at Wikipedia, and it didn’t say Nazism on there. So this is a real concern that the bias has to stop, because if you just went a couple of days before to Instagram, and you searched Donald Trump, Jr., it gave you a warning that this site could be harmful and could actually cause death. So that was a real concern of what’s going on. And what happened at Amazon, kicking out the Alliance Defending Freedom, that you couldn’t give the charity money through there anymore even though these people defend religious freedom before the Supreme Court, and that Amazon smile, those customer can’t pick that charity anymore to give money to.
HH: Yeah, Alliance Defending Freedom, old friends of mine. I’ve often spoken at their groups, and they’re right. They’ve been kicked off Amazon Smile. That’s wrong. So Leader McCarthy, we’ve talked about this before on this show. What do you do about this? Rather than, I think you’ve said that this has got to be a source of alarm, there’s got to be accountability, okay, if you’re the speaker of the House, what will you do about it?
KM: I think individuals need to come in. There needs to be transparencies, because we have to have a clear understanding. We have a 1st Amendments and others. People are controlling, if they’re controlling the feed of what people are seeing, that is fundamentally wrong. We have found, having Facebook come before Congress, that there is a problem there that the users, are they truly knowing what’s happening with their information and others? I think this is an area that Congress needs to look at throughout.
HH: Now are hearings enough? Because obviously, you did have Mr. Zuckerberg come in, but in Europe, the European Union is going much further into intrusive regulation. We’ve talked about new agencies before. I don’t want to see the antitrust division do this, but do you actually support some kind of regulatory scheme for Silicon Valley and big tech?
KM: Before I take the next action, I want to make sure I have all the information. The one thing I know is this bias has got to stop. If this continues along the way, that’s why I want to see more transparency. Let’s get all the facts and let’s put a clear aim of the direction that we think is right for the American public.
HH: Now let’s turn to the issue of you’re being the next Speaker. On my radio show on Friday, Kevin Brady, chairman of House Ways and Means, endorsed you. You’ve got the clear momentum behind your back. I’m going to assume for a moment that the House is in the Republican hands, and that you are the next Speaker. That would make you a Constitutional officer. And then in that position, you’d have to speak to the role of your coordinate body in the Senate as to whether or not they ought to demand any deal done between North Korea and the United States come before the Senate. You know the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action with Iran was a handshake deal between President Obama and the mullahs in Tehran. What’s your opinion on whatever deal, if one comes with North Korea, where it should go in the Senate. Should it be submitted to it?
KM: Well, I know we’re jumping ahead four or five different things, that one, that we win the majority, two, that we get an agreement here with North Korea. We are in a much stronger place than we were a year or two or even ten years ago with getting North Korea not to have a nuclear weapon, continue that process. But the one thing I have found, if it’s going to be long-standing, I think treaties are longer standing and supportive from administration to administration. We all know that Iran agreement, had it come before the Senate, it never would have been passed. That was the question. And how can you negotiate with North Korea to say to end the nuclear weapons that they have if you’re allowing Iran to develop one? That, to me, was the wrong approach all along, and I think the President took the right approach by saying no to Iran and sitting down with North Korea and saying you have to stop.
HH: Now when President Trump tore up President Obama’s handshake deal with Iran, he got criticized saying that oh, people won’t trust the United States. I think the answer is, I just want to know if you agree with this, we’ll put something to the Senate if it’s a good deal, if it actually is a deal when we get there, and I know we’re jumping ahead. So it would be your expectation that anything that Secretary of State Pompeo and President Trump did that was lasting would go to the Senate for review and approval by two-thirds vote?
KM: Yes, but you also have to sit for one moment. They criticized President Trump for doing this, not the people in the region did not criticize President Trump. They thought it was the right approach. They criticized Ronald Reagan when he got up and walked away out of Iceland against Gorbachev. But would the Berlin Wall have collapsed, or the Soviet Union, had he not? I think President Trump is taking that same approach. He’s making sure that for this negotiation to go forward, that the tone is set correctly. To have an agreement means that you have to, he’s been very clear, you have to end any nuclear weapons that you have or any development of that for any agreement to go forward. And he would put that into stone by going forward with the treaty.
HH: All right, now let me switch to the second big issue. President Trump has promised three times now, most recently at Annapolis, a 355 ship United States Navy. There’s no plan for that, yet, and I’ve been told by Navy people thy can’t count on the Defense appropriation money flowing. If you are Speaker, will the Defense money continue to flow as it has this year and next in the appropriation that you superintended as majority leader?
KM: Well, you’ve been a great advocate for this to know how far we had fallen with sequester. 20% cut to our military, and the world did not get safer. You have watched what we did in this last agreement where we increased the spending into, but that can’t make up all the difference. We’ve got the pay raise from one of the largest in the last 9 years, the greatest increase to military in the last 15. We have to continue to build that to make the world safe. Right now, we’re only at 283 ships. We will continue to work to build the Navy to the Navy that we need to keep the world safe in the process, and to make sure America is safe throughout the world.
HH: Well you’ve got people like Rob Wittman who will support you in your bid for Speaker and others who are in favor of the 355 ship Navy. But the Pentagon doesn’t produce the plan, Mr. Leader. Are you going to insist on actually seeing this ship count from these development facilities setting sail at this time?
KM: You see, we sit there, we have built, it’s not just the Navy that we have to look at. We have to also look at the future when it comes to our own weaponry when it comes to planes and others. And those are the investments we’re making as we’re moving forward. We just passed the NDAA, and next month, we will pass the appropriations for the DOD. That’s where the debate will take place. And I’m very proud of the fact that you will find, just as we did last year, that we have the money there for the military to build it back up to keep the world in a secure and more safe place for America.
HH: All right, last question, Kevin McCarthy, if you become Speaker, as most expect you will, how will you be different stylistically than Paul Ryan?
KM: Everybody is different, but the first thing I’m going to do is I’m not going to worry about being Speaker. I’m going to make sure that the Republicans are in the majority. I’m going to make sure that a Republican has the opportunity to become Speaker after the next Congress. Hugh, you understand that history is against us, that the party in power has only two times in modern history, that those individuals actually gained seats. If you looked at where we were 12 months ago, it was in a very bad place. But look at the numbers that came out today. Unemployment, we just tied the lowest level this country has been in the last 50 years. Unemployment claims at a 44 year low. Look what we’ve done with the VA. We have transformed the VA where the GI bill is no longer just 15 years and you lose it. It’s for a lifetime. And what we’re going to do with opioids, 174 people will die today because of addiction. Next month, we will pass more than 70 bills that deal with this addiction problem throughout America. We have so much more to go. Maybe our style’s a little different, but our agenda of making this country more secure, more prosperous, and be able to make America the next century ours, I think that will be the ultimate goal.
HH: Thank you, House Leader, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, from Bakersfield. Thank you for joining me this morning. I’ll be right back with Hugh’s Views.
End of interview.