WASHINGTON – The House is expected to vote Friday morning on President Joe Biden's Build Back Better bill after a marathon speech by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., delayed the vote Thursday evening.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had wanted to vote on the bill Thursday night after the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released its full cost estimate earlier in the day.
Democrats had been waiting on the release to appease moderates who were wary of the multi-trillion dollar price tag.
But the vote was held up by a fiery hours-long speech on the House floor by McCarthy that lasted into Friday. The chamber's top Republican used his time to criticize the bill's cost, saying the measure would negatively affect business and hurt the economy.
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In a final appeal that at times delved into U.S. history and stories from his personal life, he called on Democrats to vote down the measure, dismissing the legislation as “another unnecessary spending binge."
“Enough with Washington waste. Enough with the fraud, Washington abuse and Washington corruption,” he said.
Lengthy floor speeches in the House are rare, unlike in the Senate, where lawmakers use the filibuster to speak for long periods of time. Pelosi had held the modern-day speech record after she spoke for eight hours in 2018 in support of immigration law changes and read letters from immigrants asking for protections.
McCarthy, who started speaking shortly after 8:30 p.m. Thursday, broke Pelosi’s record when he ended around 5:10 a.m. Friday.
Pelosi issued several news releases in response to McCarthy's prolonged speech. In one, she called it a "temper tantrum" and pushed back on several points McCarthy raised.
Democrats waiting to make their final vote criticized McCarthy on Twitter. The minority leader was trending early Friday morning.
"I delivered a baby in less time," read a tweet from Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y. "Now step aside and let us deliver real change, like paid leave and child care, to American families."
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Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., joked the "CBO estimates Kevin McCarthy has robbed us of two hours of our lives."
Several Republicans applauded McCarthy for his effort. Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla., told him to "Keep it up."
"We're fighting for the American people and we're not going to give up. Let's hold the line!" she continued.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters early Friday morning that McCarthy "wants to do it in the dead of night. We are going to do it in the day.”
Contributing: Associated Press