Conservative Tennessee Republican praises Pelosi’s tenure as House speaker — and has ‘doubts’ on McCarthy

‘I have my doubts right now because I’m saying we need leadership,’ Tim Burchett says as a shutdown looms

Eric Garcia
Friday 22 September 2023 17:23 BST
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Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) speaks during a press conference held by members of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee at the U.S. Capitol in July.
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) speaks during a press conference held by members of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee at the U.S. Capitol in July. (Getty Images)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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A conservative Tennessee Republican congressman has praised former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s tenure leading the House of Representatives as being more effective than GOP Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s stewardship.

Rep Tim Burchett (R-TN) spoke with CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on Thursday evening as Republicans in the House face the prospect of a government shutdown.

On Thursday, six right-wing Republicans voted against a rule to advance the passage of the annual defence spending bill, the second time in a week that it was blocked.

In addition, the House is nowhere near close to passing a continuing resolution to keep the government open when it runs out of money on 30 September.

“I have my doubts right now because I'm saying, we need leadership,” he said.

Republicans only have a nine-seat majority and the House has two vacancies, meaning five members of the GOP can derail legislation at any time.

Mr Burchett contrasted Mr McCarthy’s leadership to that of Ms Pelosi, who led the House of Representatives by the same margin. He said Ms Pelosi would consult and cajole the House Democratic caucus when she wanted to pass legislation.

“She met with them [and] figured out what they wanted and then they put it on the floor and they passed it and they rallied around, and a lot of work goes into that,” he said. “But we're not seeing that. I'm not seeing that work right now. And it's very disappointing to me.”

Ms Pelosi stepped aside as the leader of Democrats in the House last year after they lost the majority, with Mr Burchett being one of only a handful of Republicans to attend her floor speech.

He said that he and Ms Pelosi enjoyed a cordial relationship.

“My daughter got hurt real bad last year on a horse when she actually won [a] world championship and her division and Speaker Pelosi is always asking me about her,” he said.

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