House Republicans are set to face two major — and politically polarizing — issues when they return to Washington next week.
September was always poised to be a busy stretch on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers staring down an end-of-month deadline to fund the government or risk a shutdown. But Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) announcement the House could open an impeachment inquiry into President Biden as soon as September has kicked that hectic outlook into overdrive.
Those two efforts are slated to come to a head next week, when McCarthy and House Republicans will have just 11 legislative days to keep the government’s lights on and come to some sort of consensus on a potential impeachment inquiry — a heavy lift for a conference that has little time and large disagreements on both matters.
In public, GOP lawmakers are brushing off any concerns about taking on both ventures in September. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who has been in the House for 22 years, says that different members focus on different endeavors and allow all of them to progress at the same. There are a number inquiries about Hunter Biden, which already exist. It also includes much of my legislation. And at the same time, you know, we all come to the floor to fund the government.”
“We can do all of them,” he continued.
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“Certainly, you know, there’s challenges to everything that we’re trying to do from the appropriations spending standpoint; we are, you know, struggling with 11 or so legislative days that remain between now and Sept. 30,” Good told The Hill in an interview.
“However, we need to do the right thing by the American people, and I think we need to pass fiscally responsible appropriations bills, and we also need to hold the president accountable for this alleged wrongdoing as it relates to the Biden family in addition to his intentional, purposeful, blatant facilitation of the border invasion,” he added.
Logistically speaking, however, addressing both matters over the few legislative days in September will be tough, requiring political maneuvering by McCarthy with conservatives pushing for steeper spending cuts and moderates wary of opening an impeachment inquiry.
At least one GOP lawmaker sees the two matters as contingent on one another, upping the pressure on McCarthy as he walks a tightrope to appease all ends of his conference while also keeping the government running.
“I’ve already decided: I will not vote to fund the government unless we have passed an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.)
last week.announced at a town hallThe White House, for its part, slammed Greene’s assessment.
“The House Republicans responsible for keeping the government open already made a promise to the American public about government funding, and it would be a shame for them to break their word and fail the country because they caved to the hardcore fringe of their party in prioritizing a baseless impeachment stunt over high stakes needs Americans care about deeply — like fighting fentanyl trafficking, protecting our national security, and funding FEMA,” deputy press secretary Andrew Bates
.wrote in a statementMcCarthy said he wants to pass a short-term spending bill to kick the government funding deadline later in the year, a move that would buy lawmakers more time to hash out their differences on the full slate of appropriations bills. The House has passed just one of its 12 funding measures, while the Senate has approved none.
Conservatives, however, are making noise about a potential continuing resolution: The House Freedom Caucus, made up of roughly three dozen members, put out an official position last month that said they will not support a stopgap funding bill unless it includes language to address the situation at the southern border, “weaponization” of the Department of Justice and “woke policies” at the Pentagon.
With the slim GOP majority in the House, united opposition from the conservative group could tank a stopgap bill unless some Democrats cross the aisle and support the measure, a possibility that will depend on the contents of the legislation. And, across the Capitol, any Freedom Caucus demands would likely be dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
“It’s a pretty big mess,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said of the government funding negotiations during a press gaggle in Kentucky last week.
McCarthy last month also said the House could launch such an impeachment inquiry as soon as September, but some moderates are not ready to take the step. Constitutionally speaking, the House does not need to stage a vote to open an impeachment inquiry — which would require majority support — though the chamber did in 2019 when House Democrats launched such an investigation into then-President Trump.
Despite reporting from CNN indicating that McCarthy was considering skipping a vote, the Speaker told Breitbart News on Friday that the chamber would hold a vote should the conference decide to launch an impeachment inquiry.
“To open an impeachment inquiry is a serious matter, and House Republicans would not take it lightly or use it for political purposes. McCarthy told Breitbart News that the American people should be heard in this matter by their elected representatives. “That’s why, if we move forward with an impeachment inquiry, it would occur through a vote on the floor of the People’s House and not through a declaration by one person.”
But asked last month if he has the votes to launch an inquiry, McCarthy told Fox News “when we go back, we’ll discuss this.”
McCarthy has sought to tie the two matters together in what could be perceived as an attempt to allay conservative concerns on spending by connecting the process to the conference’s investigations. McCarthy said that the shutdown of the government would hinder congressional investigations, including the investigation into the Biden business dealings. This could lead to an impeachment process in the near future. McCarthy made the statement during an interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox’s Sunday Morning Futures last month. “We are not going to be distracted by a shiny object saying ‘if you don’t get this continuing resolution passed we won’t be able to pursue the impeachment inquiry, that is nonsense,” Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) “Let us go back to Washington, do our work, and leadership needs to do their work and that is to press to make sure the appropriations bills are brought forth.”
Emily Brooks contributed.
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