Read our 2017 Report Card for McCarthy.
McCarthy is shown as a purple triangle ▲ in our ideology-leadership chart below. Each dot is a member of the House of Representatives positioned according to our liberal–conservative ideology score (left to right) and our leadership score (leaders are toward the top).
The chart is based on the bills McCarthy has sponsored and cosponsored. See full analysis methodology.
Ratings from Advocacy Organizations
McCarthy was the primary sponsor of 9 bills that were enacted. The most recent include:
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We consider a bill enacted if one of the following is true: a) it is enacted itself, b) it has a companion bill in the other chamber (as identified by Congress) which was enacted, or c) if about one third or more of its provisions were incorporated into bills that were enacted (as determined by an automated text analysis, applicable beginning with bills in the 110th Congress).
McCarthy sponsors bills primarily in these issue areas:
Government Operations and Politics (35%)Armed Forces and National Security (24%)Science, Technology, Communications (18%)Public Lands and Natural Resources (12%)Finance and Financial Sector (12%)
Some of McCarthy’s most recently sponsored bills include...
View All » | View Cosponsors »
As House Majority Leader, McCarthy may be focused on his responsibilities other than introducing legislation, such as setting the chamber’s agenda, uniting his party, and brokering deals.
|McCarthy’s Vote||Vote Description|
|Nay||H.R. 597: Reform Exports and Expand the American Economy Act|
Oct 27, 2015. Passed 313/118.
House Democrats and a portion of the Republican House majority teamed up last week to win an important battle in the fight to bring back the Export-Import bank, a quasi-governmental agency that provides subsidies to foreign companies buying American goods. On Monday, October, 26, 2015, ...
|Aye||H.R. 2146: Defending Public Safety Employees’ Retirement Act|
Jun 18, 2015. Passed 218/208.
This vote made H.R. 2146 the vehicle for passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal currently being negotiated. H.R. 2146 was originally introduced as a bill to address issues with retirement funds of federal law enforcement officers and firefighters. ...
|Yea||H.R. 2048: Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2015|
May 13, 2015. Passed 338/88.
The USA Freedom Act (H.R. 2048, Pub.L. 114–23) is a U.S. law enacted on June 2, 2015 that restored in modified form several provisions of the Patriot Act, which had expired the day before. The act imposes some new limits on the bulk collection of ...
|Aye||H.J.Res. 124 (113th): Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2015|
Sep 17, 2014. Passed 319/108.
|Nay||H.R. 2362 (112th): Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Project Act of 2011|
Jul 23, 2012. Failed 222/160.
|Aye||H.R. 1249 (112th): Leahy-Smith America Invents Act|
Jun 23, 2011. Passed 304/117.
The Leahy–Smith America Invents Act (AIA) is a United States federal statute that was passed by Congress and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on September 16, 2011. The law represents the most significant change to the U.S. patent system since 1952, and ...
|Yea||H.R. 2499 (111th): Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2010|
Apr 29, 2010. Passed 223/169.
|Yea||H.R. 31 (111th): Lumbee Recognition Act|
Jun 3, 2009. Passed 240/179.
From Jan 2007 to Mar 2018, McCarthy missed 152 of 8,477 roll call votes, which is 1.8%. This is on par with the median of 2.3% among the lifetime records of representatives currently serving. The chart below reports missed votes over time.
Show the numbers...
|Time Period||Votes Eligible||Missed Votes||Percent||Percentile|
The information on this page is originally sourced from a variety of materials, including:
Kevin McCarthy is pronounced:
KE-vin // muh-KAHR-thee
The letters stand for sounds according to the following table:
|Letter||Sounds As In|
Capital letters indicate a stressed syllable.
For other people with similar names, see Kevin McCarthy (disambiguation).
|House Majority Leader|
August 1, 2014
|Preceded by||Eric Cantor|
|House Majority Whip|
January 3, 2011 – August 1, 2014
|Preceded by||Jim Clyburn|
|Succeeded by||Steve Scalise|
|House Republican Chief Deputy Whip|
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Eric Cantor|
|Succeeded by||Peter Roskam|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from California's 23rd district
January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Lois Capps|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from California's 22nd district
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Bill Thomas|
|Succeeded by||Devin Nunes|
|Minority Leader of the California State Assembly|
January 5, 2004 – April 17, 2006
|Preceded by||Dave Cox|
|Succeeded by||George Plescia|
|Member of the California State Assembly|
from the 32nd district
December 2, 2002 – November 30, 2006
|Preceded by||Roy Ashburn|
|Succeeded by||Jean Fuller|
|Born||Kevin Owen McCarthy|
(1965-01-26) January 26, 1965 (age 53)
Bakersfield, California, U.S.
|Education||California State University, Bakersfield(BS, MBA)|
Kevin Owen McCarthy (born January 26, 1965) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for California's 23rd congressional district since 2013 and as the House Majority Leader since 2014. A Republican, he was formerly chairman of the California Young Republicans and the Young Republican National Federation. McCarthy worked as district director for U.S. Representative Bill Thomas, and in 2000 was elected as a trustee to the Kern Community College District. He then served in the California State Assembly from 2002 to 2006, the last two years as Minority Leader. When Thomas retired from the U.S. House in 2006, McCarthy ran to succeed him and won the election. The 23rd district, numbered as the 22nd district from 2007 to 2013, is based in Bakersfield and includes large sections of Kern County and Tulare County as well as part of the Quartz Hill neighborhood in northwest Los Angeles County.
McCarthy was elected to House leadership as the Republican Chief Deputy Whip, from 2009 to 2011, and House Majority Whip, from 2011 until August 2014, when he was elected House Majority Leader to replace the outgoing Eric Cantor, who was defeated in his primary election. After announcing his candidacy for Speaker on September 28, 2015, he dropped out of the race on October 8.
Early life and education
McCarthy was born in Bakersfield, California, the son of Roberta Darlene (née Palladino; November 16, 1940-), a homemaker, and Owen McCarthy (June 12, 1941-), an assistant city fire chief. McCarthy is a fourth-generation resident of Kern County. He is the first Republican in his immediate family, as his parents were members of the Democratic Party. He attended California State University, Bakersfield, where he obtained a B.S. in marketing in 1989 and an M.B.A. in 1994.
Early political career
In 1995, he was chairman of the California Young Republicans. From 1999 to 2001, he was chairman of the Young Republican National Federation. From the late 1990s until 2000, he was district director for U.S. Representative Bill Thomas, who, at the time, chaired the House Ways and Means Committee. McCarthy won his first election in 2000, as a Kern Community College District trustee.
McCarthy was elected to the California State Assembly in 2002, becoming Republican floor leader during his freshman term in 2003. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2006.
U.S. House of Representatives
See also: United States House of Representatives elections in California, 2006 § District 22
McCarthy entered the Republican primary for California's 22nd District after his former boss, Bill Thomas, announced his retirement. He won the three-way Republican primary—the real contest in this heavily Republican district—with 85 percent of the vote. He then won the general election with 70.7% of the vote.
See also: United States House of Representatives elections in California, 2008 § District 22
McCarthy was unopposed for a second term.
See also: United States House of Representatives elections in California, 2010 § District 22
He was virtually unopposed, winning 98.8% of the vote, with opposition coming only from a write-in candidate.
See also: United States House of Representatives elections in California, 2012 § District 23
Redistricting before the 2012 election resulted in McCarthy's district being renumbered as the 23rd District. It became somewhat more compact, losing its share of the Central Coast while picking up large parts of Tulare County. This district was as heavily Republican as its predecessor, and McCarthy won a fourth term with 73.2% of the vote vs. 26.8% for independent, No Party Preference (NPP) opponent, Terry Phillips.
See also: United States House of Representatives elections in California, 2014 § District 23
In his bid for a fifth term, McCarthy faced a Democratic challenger for the first time since his initial run for the seat, Raul Garcia. However, McCarthy was reelected with 74.8% of the vote.
See also: United States House of Representatives elections in California, 2016 § District 23
McCarthy won re-election to a sixth term in 2016 with 69.2% of the vote in the general election; the opposing candidate, Wendy Reed, Democratic Party candidate, received 30.8% of the vote.
As a freshman congressman, McCarthy was appointed to the Republican steering committee. Republican leader John Boehner appointed him chairman of the Republican platform committee during the committee's meetings in Minneapolis in August 2008, which produced the Republican Party Platform for 2008. He was also one of the three founding members of the GOP Young Guns Program.
After the 2008 elections, he was chosen as chief deputy minority whip, the highest-ranking appointed position in the House Republican Conference. His predecessor, Eric Cantor, was named minority whip. On November 17, 2010, he was selected by the House Republican Conference to be the House majority whip in the 112th Congress. In this post, he was the third-ranking House Republican, behind House speakerJohn Boehner and majority leaderEric Cantor.
In August 2011, McCarthy and Cantor led a group of 30 Republican members of Congress to Israel, where some members (several after drinking) took part in a late-night swim in the Sea of Galilee, including one member—Representative Kevin Yoder of Kansas—who swam nude. When McCarthy and Cantor later found out about the swim, they "were furious" and worried about negative news coverage, and "called a members-only meeting the next morning to reprimand the group – both those who swam and those who abstained."
In 2012, McCarthy's office reported spending $99,000 on pastries, bottled water, and other food items, making him the highest-spending member of the House in this category.
Cantor lost the June 2014 primary for his seat in Congress, and announced he would step down from House leadership at the end of July. McCarthy sought to succeed Cantor, and after some speculation that representatives Pete Sessions and Jeb Hensarling would challenge him, both dropped out leaving a clear path for McCarthy to become House majority leader. On June 13, representative Raul Labrador announced he would also seek the leadership position. On June 19, the Republican caucus elected McCarthy as majority leader.
According to the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs, McCarthy is the least-tenured majority leader in the history of the House of Representatives. When he assumed the majority leadership position in July 2014, he had served only seven years, six months and 29 days, the least experience of any floor leader in the House's history by more than a year.
McCarthy kept four of his predecessor's staff members on his staff when he took over as majority leader, including deputy chief of staff Neil Bradley, who now has served in that role for three majority leaders.
In 2017, McCarthy came under fire for avoiding meetings and town-hall events with constituents in his congressional district.
In December 2017, McCarthy voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. After the vote, McCarthy asked his constituents to "Come February, check your check, because that will be the pay raise of the vote for Donald Trump."
Speaker of the House candidacy and withdrawal
See also: Speaker of the United States House of Representatives election, October 2015
On September 25, 2015, John Boehner announced his intention to resign as Speaker effective October 30, 2015. Many media outlets speculated that McCarthy would likely replace him, and Boehner himself stated that McCarthy "would make an excellent speaker." He was the presumptive successor to the outgoing Speaker. On Monday, September 28, McCarthy formally announced his candidacy. Having held congressional office for less than nine years, McCarthy would have been the Speaker with the least time in Congress since 1891.
On October 8, 2015, as Republicans were preparing to vote, McCarthy unexpectedly dropped out of the race, saying that Republicans needed a fresh face who could unite the caucus and "I am not that guy." He added that he would remain on as Majority Leader. He reportedly had concluded that he did not have the 218 votes that would be required to be elected Speaker. Previously, Representative Walter B. Jones, Jr. had sent a letter to the Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers stating that any candidates for a leadership position with "misdeeds" should withdraw from the race. Jones has stated that his comment did not specifically refer to McCarthy. It was widely seen as referring to rumors that McCarthy had been committing an extramarital affair with fellow Representative, Renee Ellmers, a rumor that both have denied; the basis for such an allegation and interpretation is unclear.
In a September 29, 2015 interview with Fox News's Sean Hannity, McCarthy was asked what the Republicans had accomplished in Congress. He replied by talking about the House of Representatives' special panel investigation into the incident when Islamic militants attacked the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi in 2012. Republicans said the purpose of the government-funded committee was purely to investigate the deaths of four Americans. But McCarthy said, “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.” Many media outlets and Democratic lawmakers interpreted this comment as an admission that the investigation was a partisan political undertaking rather than a substantive inquiry. Some commentators described his remark as a classic “Kinsley gaffe,” defined as when a politician accidentally tells the truth.
Several days later, McCarthy followed up on his comments and said that "Benghazi is not political. It was created for one purpose and one purpose only — to find the truth on behalf of the families of four dead Americans ... The integrity of Chairman Gowdy, the Committee and the work they've accomplished is beyond reproach. The serious questions Secretary Clinton faces are due entirely to her own decision to put classified information at risk and endanger our national security ... I've been very clear about this. And don't use politics to try to change this around. I could have been more clear in my description of what was going forward."
Comments on Trump and Putin
On June 15, 2016, McCarthy told a group of Republicans, "There's two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump. Swear to God." Paul Ryan reminded colleagues the meeting was off the record, saying "No leaks. This is how we know we're a real family here." When asked about the comment, McCarthy's spokesman said that “the idea that McCarthy would assert this is absurd and false.” After a tape of the comment was made public in May 2017, McCarthy claimed it was "a bad attempt at a joke".
In 2003, while minority leader in the state assembly, McCarthy "support[ed] most abortion rights, but oppose[d] spending tax dollars on abortions." By 2015, however, McCarthy was a "staunch anti-abortion-rights advocate." McCarthy is a supporter of the Hyde Amendment (a provision, annually renewed by Congress since 1976, that bans federal funds for abortion), and in 2011 co-sponsored a bill, the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," to make the Hyde Amendment permanent. This bill was especially controversial because it provided an exemption for funding terminations of pregnancies caused by only "forcible rape," which prompted abortion-rights activists to call the bill a redefinition of rape. McCarthy opposes a California state law that requires health insurance plans "to treat abortion coverage and maternity coverage neutrally and provide both," believing that this law violates the Weldon Amendment and other federal laws. McCarthy received a 100% rating from the National Right to Life Committee, and a 0% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America.
McCarthy has voted to strip about $500 million in federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
McCarthy was an early supporter of Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, saying that Trump's "intensity" could help the Republicans win House seats.
McCarthy is (as of 2015) frequently at odds with environmental groups; the League of Conservation Voters has given him a lifetime score of 3%. McCarthy does not accept the scientific consensus on climate change. He was a major opponent of President Obama's Clean Power Plan to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas from coal-fired power plants. He has opposed regulations on methane leaks from fossil-fuel drilling facilities, characterizing them as "bureaucratic and unnecessary.'" In 2015, McCarthy opposed the U.S.'s involvement in global efforts to combat climate change; as the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference began, McCarthy announced that he would oppose an international agreement on climate change. In 2017, McCarthy led House Republican efforts to use the Congressional Review Act to undo a number of environmental regulations enacted during the Obama administration. While McCarthy once supported the federal wind-energy production tax credit, he opposed its extension in 2014.
In 2011, McCarthy was the primary author of the "Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act" (H.R. 1581), legislation that would strip 60 million acres of public lands of protected status. Under the legislation, protections for roadless and wilderness study areas would be eliminated, and vast swaths of land opened to new industrial development (such as logging, mineral extraction, and fossil fuel extraction). The bill was strongly criticized by conservationist groups and by former Secretary of the InteriorBruce Babbitt, who called it "the most radical, overreaching attempt to dismantle the architecture of our public land laws" that he had seen in his lifetime.
In 2014, McCarthy opposed the renewal of the charter of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, as he expects the private sector to take over the role.
As House majority leader, McCarthy led efforts to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare). In March 2017, the House Republican repeal legislation, the American Health Care Act, was pulled from the floor minutes before a scheduled vote. Following changes made during an internal Republican debate, the bill narrowly passed the House, 217-213, in a May 2017 party-line vote. The House Republican leadership's decision to hold a vote on the legislation before receiving a budget-impact analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office was controversial. The CBO subsequently issued a report estimating that the bill would cause 23 million Americans to lose health coverage, and would reduce the deficit by $119 billion over ten years. McCarthy and other House Republican leaders defended the legislation.
McCarthy opposed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, which added perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disabilities as protected classes under existing federal hate crimes law. He has voted against the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007.
McCarthy was a supporter of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which barred federal recognition of same-sex marriage and banned same-sex couples from receiving federal spousal benefits; after President Barack Obama instructed the Justice Department not to defend the law in court, McCarthy supported House Republicans' legal defense of the law. When the DOMA case reached the Supreme Court in 2013, McCarthy joined Boehner and Eric Cantor in signing a brief urging the Court to uphold the law.
McCarthy has a "D" rating from NORML regarding his voting record on cannabis-related matters. He voted against allowing veterans access to medical marijuana, if legal in their state, per their Veterans Health Administration doctor's recommendation.
McCarthy and his wife Judy have two children. They are lifelong residents of Bakersfield. He is a former board member for the Community Action Partnership of Kern.
McCarthy's campaign for House speaker suffered from unproven rumors of an extramarital affair; such rumors, circulated by web posts and emails, were spread by various conservative writers and activists, including Charles C. Johnson, Matt K. Lewis, and Steve Baer. The spreading of the rumors was criticized by media critic Howard Kurtz, who called it "a classic whispering campaign."
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- ^"GOP Rep. McCarthy elected House majority leader". AP via Yahoo news. June 19, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
- ^"Person Details for Roberta Darlene Palladino, "California Birth Index, 1905-1995" — FamilySearch.org". familysearch.org.
- ^"Person Details for Owen Mccarthy, "California Birth Index, 1905-1995" — FamilySearch.org". familysearch.org.
- ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
- ^"Person Details for Kevin O Mccarthy, "California Birth Index, 1905-1995" — FamilySearch.org". familysearch.org.
- ^McCarthy, Kevin (June 22, 2014). "Kevin McCarthy talks Iraq, future of the GOP; latest on IRS scandal". Fox News Sunday (Interview). Interview with Chris Wallace. Washington, D.C. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
- ^ abCottle, Michelle (October 26, 2010). "McCarthism". New Republic. Washington, D.C.: Chris Hughes. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
- ^ abcdef"Full Biography". Congressman Kevin McCarthy website. U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
- ^Sewell, Abby (June 12, 2014). "Kevin McCarthy, would-be majority leader, at home in D.C., Bakersfield". LA Times. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
- ^"Statement of the Vote – November 2006"(PDF). California Secretary of State. Archived from the original(PDF) on October 20, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
- ^"CA – District 22". OurCampaigns.com. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
- ^"Statement of Vote: November 4, 2008, General Election"(PDF). California Secretary of State. Archived from the original(PDF) on May 6, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
- ^"Statement of Vote: November 2, 2010, General Election"(PDF). California Secretary of State. Archived from the original(PDF) on June 11, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
- ^"Statement of Vote: November 6, 2012 General Election"(PDF). California Secretary of State. Archived from the original(PDF) on July 1, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
- ^"2014 General Election results"(PDF). California Secretary of State. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- ^"2016 General Election results"(PDF). California Secretary of State. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
- ^"Young Guns – About". gopyoungguns.com/. National Republican Congressional Committee.
- ^ abDana Bash & Deirdre Walsh, GOP lawmakers reprimanded after swim in Sea of Galilee, CNN (August 20, 2012).
- ^Nikki Schwab, McCarthy's Doughnut Habit Bites Back, U.S. News & World Report (June 13, 2014).
- ^Fuller, Matt (June 12, 2014). "Pete Sessions Drops Out of Majority Leader Race, Clearing Way for Kevin McCarthy". Roll Call. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
- ^Cornwell, Susan (June 13, 2014). "Republican Rep. Labrador running for House majority leader post". Reuters. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
- ^"Eric Cantor to leave leadership post". Politico. June 11, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
- ^Can Kevin McCarthy instill a California mind-set in his House GOP colleagues?, The Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2014
- ^Bobic, Igor (June 20, 2014). "Kevin McCarthy Is The Least Tenured House Majority Leader Ever". The Huffington Post. New York: AOL. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
- ^Dumain, Emma. "Majority Leader-Elect McCarthy Inherits Top Cantor Aides". www.rollcall.com. Roll Call. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
- ^Carol Ferguson, Voters call for town hall meeting with Rep. McCarthy, KBAK/KBFX (February 21, 2017).
- ^Chloe Nordquist, Protesters gather outside hotel where Congressman Kevin McCarthy was set to speak at a GOP dinner, (February 21, 2017).
- ^Steven Meyer, McCarthy, Nunes come under fire for attending fundraiser not town halls, Sacramento Bee (February 21, 2017).
- ^Almukhtar, Sarah (19 December 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
- ^"President Trump signs tax reform bill into law". Watchdog News. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
- ^Russell Berman. "John Boehner to Resign as House Speaker - The Atlantic". The Atlantic.
- ^Elahe Izadi (September 25, 2015). "Boehner: McCarthy would make excellent speaker". The Washington Post.
- ^McCarthy's comments about Benghazi should raise a red flag for Republicans, Washington Post, Chris Cillizza, September 30, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
- ^"McCarthy in announcing speaker bid vows no more 'governing by crisis'". Fox News.
- ^Kevin McCarthy would be the least experienced House Speaker since 1891, Washington Post, Phillip Bump, September 28, 2015. Retrieved October 4, 2015.
- ^"Kevin McCarthy Withdraws From Speaker's Race, Putting House in Chaos". New York Times. October 8, 2015. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
- ^Moe, Alex (October 8, 2015). "Kevin McCarthy Abruptly Drops House Speaker Bid, Race Postponed". NBC News. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
- ^Doyle, Michael; Recio, Maria (October 8, 2015). "Rep. Walter Jones' letter clouds McCarthy's leadership withdrawal". McClatchy DC. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
- ^Hartmann, Margaret (October 9, 2015). "How the Media Is Handling Kevin McCarthy's Rumored Affair". New York. Retrieved October 10, 2015.