House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — soon to be Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — has a request for the 60 incoming Democratic freshmen: Let’s work together!
The California Republican sent a letter to that group Thursday, as first reported by Roll Call, “to express my willingness to work with you for the good of the country — and to extend an open invitation to meet with you in the new year.”
“If the next Congress devolves into a partisan food fight of accusations and investigations, it will come at the expense of real solutions for real Americans,” McCarthy wrote. An in-person meeting, he added, “will help break down any barriers of misperception and strengthen the foundation for a productive working relationship.”
The letter is being greeted with guffaws in the Democratic leadership suites, where members and staffers watched Republicans under the leadership of Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and McCarthy entirely sideline Democrats as they pursued vast health-care and tax legislation. Even the farm bill, a typically bipartisan affair, got held up by ideological warfare until after last month’s midterm elections.
That’s not to mention how the GOP turned from aggressive oversight of Barack Obama’s administration to merely perfunctory oversight of the Trump administration, using key committees instead to aid the president’s attacks on his perceived enemies in federal intelligence and law-enforcement agencies.
But, with his caucus about to be relegated to the minority, McCarthy is eager to turn a page. He urged the incoming Democrats — a group McCarthy spent months crisscrossing the country and raising tens of millions of dollars to defeat — to “keep a strong grasp on your core convictions while learning pragmatically how to compromise and get things done.”
“We will not agree on every issue, and I understand if you doubt the sincerity of this offer in a political climate marked by distrust and polarization,” he wrote. “Despite all of that, I still believe in the power of relationships and our common interests to improve the lives of our neighbors.”