House Republicans don’t have the votes for a Joe Biden impeachment inquiry: The House Speaker is threatening to launch an impeachment inquiry this fall, but he lacks the votes to launch one – and one anonymous Congressman told the press that they lack evidence of wrongdoing by Joe Biden.
Joe Biden In the Clear?
While Republican members of Congress have been introducing impeachment resolutions against President Biden since, literally, his first full day in office, none of them have gone anywhere, mostly because the House Republican leadership has not gotten on board with the idea.
But due to pressure from the conservative base, the right flank of the Republican caucus, and former President Donald Trump, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has been talking about moving forward this fall with an impeachment inquiry, although he’s been clear that he is backing an inquiry, and not necessarily impeachment himself.
According to a new report, it doesn’t appear McCarthy has the votes to move forward with such an inquiry- and at least one Republican in the caucus says the GOP has not uncovered evidence of wrongdoing.
According to CNN, McCarthy and other GOP leaders in the House “have begun to strategize about how to move forward with an impeachment inquiry,” with the process likely to begin by the end of September.
However, as CNN says, “the entire House Republican conference is not yet sold on the politically risky idea of impeachment… Republicans do not currently have the 218 votes needed to open an impeachment inquiry.”
The Constitution does not require a vote of the House to initiate an impeachment inquiry, although that did happen in 2019, prior to Donald Trump’s first impeachment. Trump’s second impeachment in 2021, which came together in a matter of days following January 6, did not result from a formal impeachment inquiry.
“I don’t believe that a vote of the House is required to open an impeachment inquiry,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) told CNN.
And while a vote may not be necessary to start the impeachment inquiry, it certainly matters if the GOP, in the narrowly divided House, lacks the votes to actually impeach the president.
Unlike all of the other impeachments in history, it’s not entirely clear what the grounds would be for a Biden impeachment. While most of the resolutions so far have concerned the president’s handling of the border with Mexico, the GOP has been hinting that such an impeachment would arise from the House Oversight Committee’s investigations into the overseas business dealings of the president’s son Hunter Biden and the idea that President Biden somehow profited from them. The Oversight Committee, CNN said, recently held a call to “rally support” for a Biden impeachment inquiry.
“We had even some of our more moderate members saying that the oversight wasn’t serious if the next step wasn’t an impeachment inquiry,” Gaetz told CNN of that call. “There was great interest among my Judiciary colleagues to really include and involve everyone in the conference. There’s a real desire to get everyone on board and go through the evidence with those who might remain skeptical.”
“He is spending the recess talking about it constantly,” Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) told CNN about her ally McCarthy. “I really feel strongly that that’s something that’s going to happen.”
However, one anonymous Republican House member told CNN that the Oversight investigation has not only not uncovered anything impeachment-worthy, but no evidence of wrongdoing by the president at all.
“There’s no evidence that Joe Biden got money, or that Joe Biden, you know, agreed to do something so that Hunter could get money,” the anonymous lawmaker said. “There’s just no evidence of that. And they can’t impeach without that evidence. And I don’t think the evidence exists.”
As also noted in the CNN story, there is also the possibility of a government shutdown at the end of September; such a shutdown would mean that no investigations can take place in the meantime.
Author Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.