Passing a six-year highway funding bill that changes the U.S. tax structure will be a top priority, McCarthy said Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“If we pass a highway bill with tax reform at the same time, that’s policy,” McCarthy said.
Boehner’s surprise announcement on Friday that he’ll resign from Congress at the end of October followed years of conflict with conservative members of his Republican caucus. They threatened to shut down the government this week if Planned Parenthood, the women’s health provider whose services include abortion, isn’t defunded.
McCarthy is likely to win an election to replace Boehner, said House Republicans Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina and Tom Cole of Oklahoma on “Fox News Sunday.”
House Republicans plan to meet Tuesday afternoon to discuss how they’ll proceed.
If he becomes speaker, McCarthy would immediately face difficult issues on which members of his party are divided. They include raising the U.S. debt limit, increasing spending on highways and reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, all of which are opposed by conservative lawmakers.
He apparently won’t have to deal with a government shutdown when current funding ends Wednesday night. Boehner said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the House will pass a Senate spending bill, with the help of votes from Democrats, to keep the government operating without defunding Planned Parenthood.
Boehner also suggested on “Face the Nation” that he will seek to push through other top corporate priorities before departing at the end of October. “I don’t want to leave my successor a dirty barn,” he said on the program.
It’s unclear how McCarthy, a California state lottery winner who used his winnings to help bankroll a sandwich shop, would react if Boehner tries to push legislation opposed by conservative members through the House before leaving. McCarthy has said he opposes rechartering the Export-Import Bank, a top goal of business groups in Washington.
Avoiding a federal shutdown this week may be only a temporary victory, as the interim funding bill being considered by the Senate would expire Dec. 11. That raises the possibility of another shutdown battle in a little more than two months.
A group of about 30 House conservatives have said they won’t support any spending bill that funds Planned Parenthood.
So far, Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida — who got 12 votes in January against Boehner — is the only other announced candidate for speaker. He isn’t seen as a formidable challenger.
Webster said in an interview that “we need to transform the process here,” away from what he describes as a top-down approach to legislating.