Incoming House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy hopes to leverage Democrats in red districts to push for some of his policy priorities when House Republicans lose power in January, he said Thursday.
The California Republican's caucus will lose control of the House for the first time in eight years after last week's midterm elections. Democrats will flip at least 34 House districts, many of them long held by the GOP, according to a projection by NBC News.
McCarthy thinks the red tilt of many of the areas Democrats will represent gives the GOP an opportunity.
"So, I still believe — we may be sitting in the minority, but we're going to have a very good chance here to be able to — working with the Senate — still make tax cuts permanent for the middle class," McCarthy told CNBC's "Squawk Box." "To find ways to find common ground when it comes to infrastructure."
The House passed three separate bills earlier this year as part of a second wave of tax reform. The most notable proposal made individual tax reductions passed last year permanent. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will take the bills if he sees support for them. The GOP will hold at least 51 seats, and likely more, in the Senate in January.
Meanwhile, key members of both parties, including President Donald Trump and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, have expressed a desire to pass a plan to revamp U.S. infrastructure. However, they will have a tough time agreeing on how to pay for the overhauls. Democrats will likely push for more public funding than Republicans want. McConnell said Wednesday that there's no interest in his caucus for an expensive infrastructure plan.
McCarthy also expressed concerns Thursday about striking a deal on funding an infrastructure proposal.
"That's going to be the real hang-up when it comes to infrastructure — how do we pay for it?" he asked.
During his "Squawk Box" appearance, McCarthy also repeatedly and falsely contended that Democrats will only focus on investigating Trump, securing his tax returns and attempting impeachment. While Democrats have called for investigations into various parts of the Trump administration, the vast majority of them have avoided any talk of impeachment.
They also ran on proposals including shoring up the Affordable Care Act, lowering prescription drug prices, strengthening gun background checks and reducing corruption in government. Pelosi — the front-runner to become the next speaker of the House despite some opposition within her party — has called those policies her priority in January.