By Jack Phillips
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that the “first thing” Republicans will propose is more border security if his party retakes the House during the 2022 midterm elections on Tuesday.
Numerous analysts and forecasters have predicted that Republicans will be able to secure a majority in the House, where Democrats currently hold a slim lead. The GOP needs to gain a net five seats, while historically the party of the president tends to lose seats in midterms.
McCarthy, the minority leader, is in line to become speaker again if Republicans take control of the lower chamber. It’s not clear if any Republican House lawmakers will challenge his bid.
“The first thing you’ll see is a bill to control the border first,” McCarthy told CNN in an interview published Monday. “You’ve got to get control over the border. You’ve had almost 2 million people just this year alone coming across.”
Since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, more than 5.5 million illegal immigrants have crossed into the United States, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in an update this month. What’s more, more than 2.8 million who have illegally crossed were stopped in the fiscal year that ends in September.
Noting that Republicans have “a number of different ways” to tackle the illegal immigration crisis, the House GOP leader said party lawmakers would present a bill to secure the border and vastly reduce the flow of the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl into the country. “I think ‘Stay in Mexico’ you have to have right off the bat,” said McCarthy, referring to the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy.
In order to keep fentanyl from coming into the United States, McCarthy said there will need to be a “very frontal attack on China to stop the poison from coming,” adding that Congress will need to “provide the resources that the border agents need,” and “make sure that … anytime anybody who wants to move [fentanyl], you can prosecute him for the death penalty.”
McCarthy, who in 2015 had to drop out of the speaker’s race, told the network that he believes he will get enough support to be speaker. That includes backing from former President Donald Trump, he said.
“I believe we’ll have the votes for speaker, yes,” said McCarthy. “I think Trump will be very supportive.”
McCarthy also said he intends to restore Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) committee assignments after they were stripped by a House vote last year. He also plans to remove from the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), who has faced allegations that he had a close relationship with a Chinese Communist Party spy.