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Dec 14, 2023 | In The News

Breitbart News

Speaker Emeritus Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) bid farewell to his constituents and colleagues in the House of Representatives on Thursday, his last day in session as a member. 

McCarthy announced on December 6 he would be stepping down at the end of the month, and Thursday marks the final day of the legislative session for the year. At the end of a tribute from colleagues that was broadcast by CSPAN, McCarthy delivered remarks on the House floor: 

“To my colleagues from California, I’m so very, very proud of you. And to my friends for coming: I appreciate the kind words. To the constituents: Thank you. Thank you for ever giving me this opportunity to serve you. To America: I loved every single day. Less than 13,000 people have ever been given the privilege and the honor to serve in this body.”

McCarthy, who served as Speaker of the House for the first nine months or so of the 118th Congress, was ousted from the speakership through a motion to vacate in early October led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and seven other Republicans. It came after President Joe Biden signed a clean counting resolution into law to keep the government funded while the House worked on appropriations packages for 2024. 

But McCarthy said on Thursday he would “do it all again” in his farewell remarks and advised colleagues not to let the fear of losing their jobs keep them from embracing the philosophies they believe will bring about freedom. 

“But one thing I think we must quite understand and if there’s advice I can give: Do not be fearful if you believe your philosophy brings people more freedom. Do not be fearful that you could lose your job over it,” McCarthy said.

“I knew the day we decided to make sure to choose to pay our troops while war was breaking out instead of shutting down was the right decision,” he added. “I also knew a few would make a motion; somehow, they disagreed with that decision. Do it anyways. I would do it all again.”

One area of focus from McCarthy’s comments was seats that Republicans flipped during his time as minority leader. He remarked that when he first came into the role in 2019,  specifically during the State of the Union that year, he saw the diversity of the Democrat conference as being representative of America, while the GOP conference resembled “one of the most restricted country clubs in America,” echoing his comments from a New York Times DealBook Summit in November.

“I thought at that moment I could be the leader of the declining party, or I can focus on what I know brought me to this party: conceived in liberty, the dedicated proposition that we’re all equal, and I would take that message to places people didn’t think they would vote for a Republican,” McCarthy said Thursday before touting pickups in California and other blue and purple states.

“I’m proud to say in those election cycles we picked up five more seats in California – that’s larger than our overall majority. Five more in New York, in Oregon, in Arizona,” he continued. 

McCarthy contended that today, the party “doesn’t look like it did five years ago.” 

“We were winning in places you haven’t seen before,” he said, adding that “the future is much brighter.”

Rep. Young Kim (R-CA), an immigrant from South Korea, had spoken moments before McCarthy at the tribute broadcast by CSPAN and expressed a similar sentiment, praising him for working “tirelessly to make our party look more like America.”

“Kevin has had my back since I first decided to run for Congress and encouraged me every single step of the way,” Kim recalled. “He has worked tirelessly to make our party look more like America, and the gains we have made in the last five years are a testimony to that.”

“Kevin has been committed to ensuring people like me and each of us in our conference have what it takes to be effective members for our districts. He’s the reason we have a House majority today,” she added. 

Along with Kim and others, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), a top deputy for McCarthy who served as speaker pro tempore following his ouster, gave high praise to the Speaker emeritus on his last official day at the Capitol. 

“Kevin McCarthy’s relentless perseverance, keen insights, and unmatched knowledge of the personalities of the House were amazing to witness first-hand,” McHenry said. 

“What I got to see was the legislative equivalent of an elite-power athlete expertly working people, process, policy to get the best outcome out of this chamber,” he added. 

At the culmination of his own remarks, McCarthy emphasized his departure from the body “doesn’t mean I’ll stop serving.” 

“Those across this nation should join together to become those citizen legislators,” he said. “We cannot let this body fail to do the jobs that are so most basic that we should do every day, and we should never allow this body to stop from doing what is right.”

He and McHenry, who announced days before McCarthy he would not seek an 11th term, shared a hug after he left the podium.

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