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Oct 13, 2021

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Psaki sets the record straight after McCarthy tries to mislead and confuse on supply chain problems

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

The United States is being hit with supply chain problems, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy sees an opportunity. Specifically, McCarthy sees an opportunity to draw false connections between supply chain problems and everything he wants to stop Democrats from doing, with a side order of lying about legislation Democrats are trying to pass. White House press secretary Jen Psaki really didn’t even have to try to knock that one down.

In a long letter addressed to President Joe Biden but really intended to be quoted on Fox News and OAN, McCarthy repeatedly tried to link supply chain problems—which are a complicated result of pandemic shutdowns, pandemic shifts in demand, and decades of just-in-time manufacturing and supply, among other things—to legislation that Democrats haven’t even passed yet. Maybe his most hilariously dishonest move comes in the letter’s very first paragraph, where he claimed that “Republicans have repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to work on bipartisan solutions to improve our infrastructure.” This after House Republican leaders—of whom he is No. 1—whipped against passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that had drawn 19 Republican votes in the Senate.

To the extent that McCarthy even has an argument, it seems to be that Congress shouldn’t think about doing anything else until the supply chain is fixed. But mostly he’s just railing against using “infrastructure as a Trojan horse to push radical policies.” Which ones are those? Child care provisions that would strengthen the economy by helping more mothers seek paid work? Climate provisions that would both decrease the likelihood of future “natural” disasters and strengthen U.S. infrastructure to be able to absorb the stresses of extreme weather so that it isn’t as disruptive? McCarthy also takes time to decry “anti-competitive tax increases on small businesses and families” that no one is even trying to pass, unless the families he means are the likes of Bezos, Walton, and Gates.

Anyway, for those who care about reality (not really the audience he was looking for), McCarthy left himself open on a couple of fronts, and Psaki hammered them:

x

Let’s do facts instead. Under @POTUS, job growth is up 10x over the end of the Trump-McCarthy economy, UI claims are down 60%+, and 5m more people are back to work.
If @GOPLeader wanted to help our economy, he would support our bill to invest in ports, roads, bridges, and jobs. https://t.co/bXcRHkGzQS

— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) October 21, 2021

So, 1.) the economy is improving from where it was when Donald Trump was in the White House, thankyouverymuch. And 2.) Dude, supply chains need infrastructure. Democrats are trying to pass infrastructure. Republicans are blocking the way.

Again, it’s sort of pointless to try to pick apart what McCarthy is arguing in this letter because coherence or consistency is not the point. The point is being seen to always oppose everything Democrats do, and to convince people who aren’t paying much attention that what Democrats are doing is exacerbating supply chain problems without even beginning to sketch out a theory of how that is true. He’s taking two big complicated things—the global supply chain and Democratic efforts to pass hard infrastructure and social infrastructure bills—and trying to mash them up together without explanation, or even the acknowledgement that the Democratic legislation he’s fussing about has yet to pass.

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