House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday pushed back against CNBC anchor Joe Kernen, who pressed him on getting his legislative agenda passed through Congress.
Several hours before the State of the Union Address, Kernen challenged McCarthy on his intention to pass legislation to prohibit President Joe Biden from selling oil from the U.S.’ Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China. The anchor told the speaker the legislation is purely “symbolic,” as the Democrat-controlled Senate has no intention of passing the Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act.
“Look what we’ve been able to accomplish since January 7. We’ve got a bipartisan vote, 146 Democrats joined with us to create a select committee on China,” McCarthy said. “We’ve got a bipartisan vote to stop the president from selling our oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China. We’ve been able to move different pieces of legislation, repealing 87,000 IRS agents over to the Senate. So, we’re being very productive from the beginning.”
“It’s nice, it’s symbolic. We know what you want to do, I can’t believe your staff works late into the night writing all of this stuff that doesn’t have an ice cubed chance in hell of getting to be legislation, and you say, ‘Well, we want the American people to know where we stand.’ They know where Republicans stand,” Kernen said.
“It’s not about where we stand, it’s about getting it into law,” McCarthy argued. “You’ve only been here for 24 hours, and you’re so negative. What has happened to you? My God. Think from one perspective. I never give up. That’s the approach, which if you have been up for speaker you would have quit then, no, what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna pass the bill out of the House, we’re gonna try to make the Senate move, we’re gonna make an appropriations start properly moving. We can move it in appropriations as well.” (RELATED: Speaker McCarthy Says Santos Stepping Down From Committees Was ‘An Appropriate Decision’)
The speaker continued touting the House’s accomplishments, including ending proxy voting and vowed to make the effort to pass the legislation through the Senate.
“Do you think the American people want this?” Kernen asked.
“The American people voted for this,” McCarthy said. “The American people actually like divided government.”
The bill called into question passed the House with all 218 Republicans and 113 Democrats voting in favor of the legislation. This comes after the Biden administration has sold nearly six million barrels to the Chinese state oil company Sinopec since 2021.