Capitol Alert

Republican Kevin McCarthy’s advice to California GOP: Don’t be ‘Democrat-lite’

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Saturday urged California Republicans to hold fast to conservative principles rather than become “Democrat-lite” in an effort to compromise with the majority party governing their state.

McCarthy, a Republican from Bakersfield, used most of his lunchtime speech at the California Republican Party convention to boost President Donald Trump, saying he “does not get enough credit.”

He blasted Gov. Jerry Brown and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León for passing a state law this year making California a so-called “sanctuary state” for undocumented immigrants.

And he jabbed former Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes for working with Democrats earlier this year to extend the state’s landmark climate change policy.

“My advice for those Assembly members in Sacramento – you will not win a majority ...if you’re concerned about being able to stand behind the podium with a Democratic governor,” McCarthy said, apparently referencing a press conference earlier this year at which Mayes stood alongside Democrats to tout the Legislature’s deal extending California’s cap-and-trade program.

McCarthy was one of Donald Trump’s most fierce defenders during the 2016 presidential campaign, and has remained a key supporter since he took office, pushing for passage of measures central to Trump’s policy agenda, including repealing Obamacare, constructing a U.S.-Mexico border wall and lowering taxes.

He took particular issue with California’s immigration policies. Without providing details, he said he “would not stand for California to be a sanctuary city.”

He echoed a message right-wing provocateur Steve Bannon delivered to the California Republican Party Friday night, saying the prescription for the Republican Party to retain control of Congress and the White House, and perhaps to pick up seats in a deep-blue state is, utmost, about “winning.”

“If we are to win, we need to get our message out,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy also outlined one way to help advance the president’s policy agenda.

“We’ve got a little problem...286 of our bills are sitting in the Senate,” McCarthy said, suggesting the U.S. Senate should change its 60-vote rule to pass legislation to a simple majority.

“It should not take 60 votes to move a bill out of the Senate,” McCarthy said, to loud applause.

Trump in July tweeted that the Senate must “go to a 51-vote majority,” a reflection of his frustration at the time over failed Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, which dealt him a major political blow.