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Control spending, investigate Biden. Say it fast 10 times!

Ok, class. Today's lesson is how to investigate that miserable, poor miserable dementia riddled President of ours. And, BTW don't forget to control spending.

Kevin McCarthy Says Republicans Are Focused on Spending Cuts, Probes

House speaker also says George Santos will be referred to Ethics Committee

‘Spending is out of control,’ House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said in Washington Thursday.

By Siobhan Hughes, WSJ

Updated Jan. 12, 2023 3:18 pm ET

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) wrapped up his first week in the role by saying that House Republicans would keep up a rapid pace as they move to control spending and investigate the Biden administration.

“We’re just getting started,” he told reporters. “We made a commitment to America and we’re going to keep it,” referring to the party’s campaign document laying out its priorities.

Mr. McCarthy also said he planned no immediate action related to Rep. George Santos (R., N.Y.), who has admitted falsifying large parts of his background, despite demands from some Republicans that the freshman lawmaker step down. He said the matter would be referred to the Ethics Committee.

“He’s got a long way to go to earn trust,” Mr. McCarthy said. “If anything is found to have been wrong, he will be held accountable exactly as anybody else in this body would be.”

On Thursday, more New York GOP lawmakers said Mr. Santos had lost the trust of his colleagues and constituents. Rep. Mike Lawler said he believes Mr. Santos should resign, while Rep. Marc Molinaro said he didn’t see how Mr. Santos could continue in office. A day earlier, several other New York Republicans said they thought Mr. Santos should leave. Mr. Santos reiterated Thursday that he wouldn’t resign.

The GOP, which took control of the House after the midterm elections with a narrow 222-212 majority, plans to step up probes of the Biden administration. The party is also planning to use debt-ceiling negotiations to press for spending cuts, setting the stage for a potentially market-rattling standoff.

On the debt ceiling, Mr. McCarthy both reiterated his concerns about spending while also playing down fears of any crisis.

Republican Rep. George Santos said Thursday that he would respond “soon” to accusations made against him. The freshman congressman from New York has admitted that he lied on the campaign trail about his education and work experience. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said the matter would be referred to the Ethics Committee. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

“We don’t want to put any fiscal problems through our economy and we won’t,” he said, while also warning that fiscal problems would arise from “continuing to do business as usual.” He said that agreements to cap spending as part of a deal to raise the borrowing limit had been used in the past and indicated that he had broached such issues with President Biden.

“Spending is out of control,” Mr. McCarthy said. He said he had spoken with Mr. Biden about his hopes to tackle spending. “I told him I’d like to sit down with him early and work through these challenges,” Mr. McCarthy said.

Mr. Biden and Democrats have rejected tying debt-ceiling talks to negotiations over spending.

Congress must periodically raise the debt ceiling to allow the Treasury Department to issue more debt to pay for existing obligations. A default on the U.S. debt could trigger financial panic. The U.S. currently has about $31 trillion in debt, based on Treasury data.

The House this week adopted a rules package that allows a single lawmaker to call for a snap vote on ousting the speaker after Mr. McCarthy clawed his way to the speakership by making concessions to Republicans demanding strict new border policies, spending cuts and more power for the hard-line House Freedom Caucus on influential committees. It also passed a pair of abortion-related bills and created a committee to investigate law-enforcement and national-security agencies, which it calls the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.

President Biden and Democratic lawmakers have rejected tying debt-ceiling talks with Republicans to negotiations over spending.


Republicans are also stepping up investigations of Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and Mr. McCarthy said Thursday that he believes it should be a priority for Congress to investigate the recent discovery of classified documents at Mr. Biden’s home and office.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) said Republicans’ actions showed they were focused on “witch hunts, not working families.”

In other actions, the Republicans formed another committee to address competition with the leadership of China, and passed legislation to repeal tens of billions of dollars in Internal Revenue Service funding enacted by the Democratic-controlled House last year to improve customer service and focus on collecting unpaid taxes owed by the wealthy. The House also voted 331 to 97 on Thursday to pass a bill barring the sale of petroleum products from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to any entity connected to China.

Mr. McCarthy was noncommittal on the issue of whether he would advance legislation to expunge at least one of former President Donald Trump’s impeachments, as some lawmakers have floated, expressing sympathy for the effort while simultaneously declining to promise a vote.

“Our first priority is to get our economy back on track, secure our borders, make our streets safe again, give parents the opportunity to have a say in their kids’ education, and actually hold government accountable,” Mr. McCarthy said. “But I understand why an individual would want to do it and we’d look at it.”

Mr. McCarthy also didn’t offer ironclad assurances that he would release all of the Capitol complex’s security footage from Jan. 6, 2021, something that some House Republicans have called for, believing that it could exonerate rioters who barged into the Capitol.

“I think the American public should actually see all what happened instead of a report that’s written for political basis,” Mr. McCarthy said, referring to the report produced by a select committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack. “We’re looking through that. I want to be very thoughtful about it. But yes, I’m engaged.”

Jimmy Vielkind contributed to this article.

Write to Siobhan Hughes at

Appeared in the January 13, 2023, print edition as 'M

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