House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has launched an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, his son, Hunter, and their family finances. McCarthy, feeling pressure from hardline members of the Republican caucus, hoped to gain more votes for passing federal spending bills to prevent another government shutdown. The inquiry was not brought before the full House for a proper vote, an unusual move that will prevent it from being run with House-run rules.
Surprising precisely no one, even the cynical, disaffected members of the Avocado Political Thread community, this has not worked.
The House Freedom Caucus is still gunning for McCarthy’s job and he doesn’t appear to have gained any more support in the spending bills. Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina said that the opening of the inquiry hasn’t changed the priorities of the House Freedom Caucus which is to continue to seek spending cuts, more conservative policy riders, and for some, pushing McCarthy out of his Speakership.
The move is widely seen as a blatant attempt to mollify the more extreme parts of his caucus. And in this maneuver, he appears to have made several errors. By caving to demands for an impeachment inquiry, he has empowered the House Freedom Caucus who made no guarantees such a thing would buy him any more votes. He’s incensed the Democratic Caucus by attacking the incumbent President with a transparently specious inquiry and he needs votes from both of these groups in order to get the spending bills through. It’s also been made clear that he doesn’t have a real plan, hoping to get as many spending plans approved as possible and toss them over to the Senate where the bills can be modified and a compromise can be struck. Most would say that he’s done nothing but show his own weakness.
The impeachment inquiry is not a formal House-led inquiry. Since it was not brought before the House for a floor vote, it will lack any sort of House-passed ground rules. Transparency may well be out the window as Republicans could selectively release information to damage Biden’s reputation. It may not lead to an actual impeachment, but even partial releases of information timed correctly could make him look really bad.
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