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Scalise on Needing to Do 'a Lot Better' at Articulating Conservatism: 'We're Going to Get There'

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) greets supporters

WASHINGTON -- House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said he expects "it's going to be very difficult" to "build on the growth we're seeing in our economy" with a new Democratic majority in the 116th Congress.

"America lost its competitive edge and everybody acknowledged that. It wasn't a partisan issue. And so when we made our country competitive again, we're seeing the benefits of it by millions of new jobs being created for families who want to get in the work force," he told Fox Business on Tuesday.

Scalise predicted "the big fight" is going to be over funding the wall in Department of Homeland Security appropriations.

"The other big battle is going to be over the farm bill," which expired a few weeks ago, he said, "and the big fight has been over work requirements."

"You know, here you've got this great robust economy where there are more job openings and people looking for work," he added. "And yet we put a provision in the House that says, if there is a job out there and you're able bodied, you ought to be able to go and look for work instead of getting taxpayer funded welfare benefits and the Democrats oppose that, so we have a big impasse over that. And imagine, at a time when people are looking for work, the Federal government is paying people not to work and we said, look, if there is a job out there for you, you have to go take it or else stop getting taxpayer money."

"And we'll even pay you to train you to work if there's not -- if you don't have the proper training -- and that's what they're opposing right now."

An infrastructure package failed to get enough support in the GOP-led House and Senate because it lacked pay-fors. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said an infrastructure agreement will be a priority of the Dem majority in the next Congress.

Scalise predicted Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will be GOP leader in the next Congress despite challenges from the right wing.

"I'm running for the minority whip position and feel real confident in the votes that we have and, you know, we'll go forward but at the same time it's going to be interesting to see which route they go, the Democrats do when they're in power," he said.

"And we've got to be I think a lot better at articulating the things we stand for as conservatives. That's one thing that I think we didn't do well. We've got to do a lot better at and we're going to get there, but I think there's going to be a sharp contrast now because you're going to see the approach that Nancy Pelosi would take as speaker."