Nancy Pelosi Asks 'Is Kevin McCarthy OK?' as Marathon House Speech Ridiculed

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led the Democratic Party's condemnation of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, whose lengthy speech held up a vote on the Build Back Better legislation.

Ahead of Thursday's vote on the social spending and climate bill, whose $1.75 trillion price tag is among the things that Republicans are objecting to, McCarthy exploited what is known as the "magic minute."

In lieu of a filibuster in the lower house, it allows the Speaker and House minority and majority leaders unlimited time to speak on the chamber floor. The other representatives have time limits.

Commandeering proceedings at 8.38 p.m., McCarthy had been speaking for four hours before House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced the vote would be delayed into Friday.

But that was not before the nation heard what Democrats mocked as a stream of consciousness that included references to Tesla founder Elon Musk, Taiwan and complaints about why ex-President Donald Trump hadn't won a Nobel Prize.

Pelosi described the speech as a "temper tantrum" and accused McCarthy of avoiding talking about the legislation, which she said would cut the deficit and reduce inflation.

"But he did make unhinged claims about what the American people 'don't want and need,'" she said in the statement, which included a fact check to debunk McCarthy's criticism of lower health care costs, low drug prices and paid family leave.

"House Democrats are preparing to pass landmark legislation to lower costs, fight inflation and make big corporations and the wealthiest pay their fair share," said Pelosi, who is no stranger to marathon speeches herself.

In 2018 she used the same "magic minute rule" to speak for more than eight hours, calling for a vote on immigration reform.

Tweets From Lawmakers

"McCarthy is welcome to keep getting facts wrong on the House floor," Pelosi added.

Another statement by Pelosi's office headlined: "Is Kevin McCarthy OK?" described him as "losing the plot" and listed a series of tweets by journalists mocking the House minority leader.

With the speech still ongoing in the early hours of Friday morning, tweets by other Democratic lawmakers gave a snapshot of their exasperation.

"We are hearing rumors that the front row of GOP hostages behind Kevin McCarthy are asking whether they can just be censured instead," tweeted Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD).

Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) wrote: "Magic minute? Magic hour? Magic lifetime!" following up with: "If McCarthy's "one minute" speech is magic, please saw me in half and put me out of my misery."

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) tweeted: "I think @GOPLeader has lied more times in this speech than there'll be dollars spent in the #buildbackbetter act."

Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA) tweeted: "I wish Kevin McCarthy loved delivering for working families as much as he loves the sound of his own voice."

Arizona Democratic representative Ruben Gallego wrote: "The climate solutions of the #BuildBackBetter Act couldn't be more important after all of Kevin McCarthy's hot air."

Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-IL) tweeted: "You know, @GOPLeader's speech is so long at this point, we lost the extra hour we got for Daylight Saving."

Meanwhile some of the messages were more in anger than mockery. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) tweeted: "I'm sitting here listening to the republican leader just make up a bunch of lies. This speech is an embarrassment."

Newsweek has contacted McCarthy's office for comment.

After months of infighting, Democratic leaders had wanted to pass the social spending package two weeks ago before it was held up by centrists in the party who wanted a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of its impact.

Only one House Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME), has announced opposition to the social spending package.

Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy split pic
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (L) has joined Democratic criticism of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. He held up a vote on the Democrats' spending bill by speaking at length on the chamber floor. Getty