Nov 29, 2023 - Politics & Policy

House GOP eyes formal vote on Biden impeachment inquiry

President Biden. Photo: Michael Reynolds/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

House Republicans may hold an official vote in the coming weeks on authorizing their impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

Why it matters: Lawmakers and aides say the move would give Congress greater standing to force the Biden administration to comply with their requests for information.

Driving the news: House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) teased a potential vote in a closed-door Republican Conference meeting on Wednesday morning, according to several lawmakers present.

  • "They are taking temperatures," said one of the members.

The backdrop: Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) launched an impeachment inquiry in September without a vote amid growing pressure from his right flank.

  • At the time, enough moderate Republicans opposed an impeachment inquiry for it to risk defeat on the House floor.
  • The inquiry is focused on Hunter Biden's business dealings, though Republican investigators have struggled to draw a clear, direct link to the president.

What they're saying: The vote would be geared towards legitimizing the impeachment inquiry, particularly in efforts to enforce congressional subpoenas.

  • "The administration is not complying, and a vote would help to ensure they would do and give us better standing in the courts," said Rep. Ben Cline (R-Va.).
  • A leadership aide said a formal vote is needed for the courts to take Congress' subpoenas "seriously."

State of play: Several Republicans in districts won by President Biden in 2020 expressed openness to voting to authorize the inquiry, with some saying they've shifted in recent months.

  • "I'm going to vote yes because I think the Biden team's been stonewalling. They've been dragging their feet," said Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.). "I was opposed to it because I didn't think they were, but now they are."
  • "I've seen enough evidence to open an [impeachment] inquiry into President Biden," said Rep. John Duarte (R-Calif.).
  • Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.) said he wants to "wait to see the resolution" authorizing the inquiry, but added, "I believe there has been corruption and I believe it's appropriate for the House to provide ... oversight."

Yes, but: Other Republicans who have vocally opposed an impeachment inquiry are dug in.

  • "I haven't seen any evidence to change my position. I was against it before and I'm standing by my position," said Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.).

Axios' Juliegrace Brufke contributed reporting to this story.

Go deeper