House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., wants Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to hit the brakes on working with Democrats to produce an omnibus government funding bill before the holidays.
McCarthy, who's trying to secure enough votes to become House speaker in the new Congress, wants McConnell and other party members to wait until January to begin working on a long-term funding deal.
The current House minority leader suggested the Republicans will have far more leverage to stop extraneous spending from the budget when they have a majority in the House.
"We're 28 days from Republicans having the gavel, we would be stronger in any negotiation. Any Republican trying to work with them is wrong," McCarthy said on Fox News. "Why would you want to work on anything if we [don't] have the gavel inside Congress ... wait until we're in charge."
Asked if his remarks were directed at McConnell, McCarthy answered "yes" but did not say whether he had discussed the issue with the Senate minority leader.
McConnell also had gotten pushback from some Senate conservatives who last week sent the leader a letter urging him to skip a year-end omnibus spending package and instead insist on a short-term stopgap funding measure to punt spending negotiations into next year, The Hill reported.
President Joe Biden met with McConnell, McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at the White House last week and discussed how to keep the government funded.
McCarthy also disputed Biden's claim, at a fundraiser, that he threatened GOP leadership by showing them a "veto" pen.
The president said that after McCarthy and McConnell were telling him "what they could do," he lifted is pen. "They said, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'A pen. Veto,'" Biden said, Breitbart reported.
"He didn't say that," McCarthy said. "He lifted up his pen because I said he was playing politics. And he lifted up his pen and put it down, shut up. And then he came back to talk to me afterward and said that 'I wasn't trying to be political."
During his Fox News interview on Monday, McCarthy blasted Biden's actions concerning the migrant crisis at the southern border. The House leader said he recommended that the government assign Navy SEALs to help border agents.
McCarthy also suggested the government scrap the vaccine mandate for service members.
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