House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and top Republicans are making plans to initiate an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden this fall. McCarthy has privately informed Republicans that he intends to pursue an impeachment inquiry into Biden and hopes to begin the process by the end of September. While he has already publicly threatened to launch an inquiry based on allegations from IRS whistleblowers and noncompliance from the Biden administration regarding Republicans’ Hunter Biden probe, McCarthy has conveyed even stronger signals about his intentions behind closed doors.
However, it is recognized that not all members of the House Republican conference are in favor of the politically risky idea of impeachment. Therefore, a significant question that Republicans have been discussing is whether they would need to hold a floor vote to formally authorize their inquiry. There is no constitutional requirement for such a vote, and Republicans currently lack the necessary 218 votes to initiate an impeachment inquiry.
Opting to skip the formal vote would allow Republicans to proceed with the inquiry while giving leadership more time to convince the rest of the conference to support impeachment. During former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment, House Democrats eventually held a vote to formalize their inquiry after initially delaying it due to divisions within their ranks.
GOP Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who supports a Biden impeachment and serves on the House Judiciary Committee, believes that a vote of the House is not required to open an impeachment inquiry.
Another potential complication for the timeline of an impeachment inquiry is that government funding expires at the end of September. McCarthy has indicated that a short-term spending patch will be necessary to avoid a government shutdown, a proposition that hardline conservatives have opposed.
Officially moving forward with an impeachment inquiry may help alleviate pressure from conservative members on McCarthy. The speaker himself has connected the issues of a government shutdown and continuing investigations into the Biden administration, emphasizing that a shutdown could hinder House Republicans’ ability to conduct these inquiries.
Republicans have cited unverified allegations of Biden’s involvement in his son’s foreign business dealings and alleged political interference in the ongoing Hunter Biden criminal case as grounds for impeachment. However, Republicans have been unable to provide proof for these claims, which the White House and Democrats have consistently denied. Some Republicans remain unconvinced that they have uncovered evidence of impeachable offenses.
President Biden maintains that he did nothing wrong regarding his son, Hunter, and the White House confirms that the president was not involved in his son’s business. Attorney General Merrick Garland and other top Justice Department officials have vehemently denied GOP allegations of political interference in the Hunter Biden probe.
Despite some Republicans working to rally support for an impeachment inquiry during the August recess, it remains uncertain whether there are enough votes to proceed with the process. McCarthy has stated that further discussions will take place when Congress reconvenes and new information continues to emerge.