WASHINGTON — Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced Wednesday House Republicans will move ahead with an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
“Today, I am directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden,” McCarthy said at the U.S. Capitol.
“This logical next step will give our committees the full power to gather the full facts and answers for the American public,” he added.
McCarthy has made it clear there will be a vote for an impeachment inquiry, but as of now he doesn’t appear to have the votes to open one.
A campaign to persuade holdouts like GOP Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., is already underway. Buck will receive a briefing from the House Oversight Committee staff this week on the investigations into President Biden, according to sources familiar.
McCarthy has signaled a Biden impeachment inquiry for weeks.
Back in August, he told Fox News, an impeachment inquiry would be “a natural step forward,” arguing it “provides Congress the apex of legal power to get all the information they need.” So far, Republicans have not been able to prove any wrongdoing by President Biden.
White House spokesperson Ian Sams responded to McCarthy’s comments at the time in a social media post: “‘A natural step forward’ based on what?”
“This crazy exercise is rooted not in facts (and) truth but partisan shamelessness,” Sams wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
While McCarthy has privately told Republicans he plans to pursue an impeachment inquiry, he hasn’t specified when it could happen.
McCarthy’s endorsement comes as he looks to stave off a possible revolt from conservative hard-liners and avoid a government shutdown.
The House returns from recess on Tuesday with a fast-approaching Sept. 30 deadline to pass a spending measure to keep the government open. House Republican leaders are looking to pass a continuing resolution, or a short-term funding extension, to buy more time to hammer out the details of a broader appropriations package.
But members of the House Freedom Caucus — the same group that held up McCarthy’s ascension to the speakership and opposed his debt limit deal with President Biden — have said they would not support a continuing resolution unless it includes certain language on border security and “weaponization of the DOJ.”
The group is also opposed to further aid to Ukraine, potentially putting the House at odds with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
Amid the tension, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz has publicly threatened to bring a motion to vacate against McCarthy. The motion would force a vote on whether McCarthy should continue on as speaker.
McCarthy brushed off the threat, telling reporters on Monday evening: “He should go ahead and do it… Matt’s, Matt.”
“We got a lot of work — we got a lot in September to do. We’re gonna get our work done just as we’ve been doing,” McCarthy added.