Kevin McCarthy mounted the closest thing the House of Representatives has to an old-school talking filibuster Thursday night into Friday morning to protest and delay the passing of the Democrats’ Build Back Better legislation. And he went long. Very long.
McCarthy began his jeremiad against the bill at 8:38 p.m. on Thursday night and didn’t wrap up until 5:15 a.m. Friday, for a total of eight hours and 38 minutes — smashing Nancy Pelosi’s previous record of eight-plus hours, set in 2018. House members are generally time-limited in their remarks, but both Pelosi and McCarthy employed a rule called the “Magic Minute,” which conveniently lets majority or minority leaders ramble as long as they want.
McCarthy’s stemwinder was hardly limited to the proximate issue at hand, as the Washington Post reported:
At various turns, he referenced at length or in brief the Hallmark television channel, China’s supersonic missile capabilities, the famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware River, his friendship with Elon Musk and his recent coronavirus vaccine booster, which he said had left him with a headache.
(If you want the two-minute highlights version, the Post has you covered.)
For Democrats, McCarthy’s speech was a prime opportunity to bust out the jokes — some of them actually pretty good, some less so. Prepare yourself for the comedy stylings of Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin:
Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng got in on the action:
As did Adam Schiff:
And White House “Rapid Response Director” Mike Gwin:
And Brooklyn Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, who dropped a Home Alone reference:
And of course AOC, who also shouted “I did!” when Kevin McCarthy remarked during his speech that “nobody elected Biden to be FDR.”
In the end, McCarthy’s speech delayed the inevitable only by a few hours. The House passed Build Back Better on Friday morning.