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Kevin McCarthy's eight-hour speech on the House floor delays vote on Biden social spending bill

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
Posted at 5:50 AM, Nov 19, 2021

The House of Representatives delayed a highly anticipated vote on President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion social spending package after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's record-breaking speech in opposition to the bill.

McCarthy, the top-ranking Republican in the House, stood to speak at 8:38 p.m. ET and continued speaking around 5:04 a.m. ET, according to NBC News. During that time, McCarthy railed against the "Build Back Better" bill and topics he felt were failures of the Biden administration.

CBS News reports that Democratic leadership told members to go home around midnight and return later on Friday morning for a vote. The House will reconvene at 8 a.m. ET.

The eight-hour, 26-minute speech broke Nancy Pelosi's record for longest speech on the floor of the House. Pelosi gave her marathon speech in 2018 when she tried to persuade the then-Republican majority to pass legislation to protect undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children.

According to CNN, House rules allow the majority and minority leaders a "Magic Minute," which enables them to talk for as long as they would like at the end of floor debate.

Before McCarthy's speech, the House voted 220-211 along party lines to send the spending package to a vote. Should those numbers hold in the final vote, Biden's social spending package would then make its way to the Senate, where it faces a more narrow path to passage.

With power in the Senate divided evenly and Democrats only holding control by way of Vice President Kamala Harris' tiebreak vote, the bill will likely need support from every Democratic member in order to pass.

Biden's social spending package aims to limit childcare costs for working families, provide four weeks of paid family leave for new parents, cap drug prices for older Americans, and aim to reduce eldercare costs. The bill would also fund new climate change initiatives.

The $1.9 trillion bill would be paid for by new taxes on the wealthiest Americans and increased taxes on corporations.

On Thursday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that the bill would add to the national deficit over the next decade by $367 billion.