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Congressional Republicans demand investigation into Biden administration's use of power

By Sarah May on
 December 31, 2022

In his ongoing fight to secure the job of House speaker, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is having to entertain a number of new demands from the GOP's conservative wing, as Politico reports, including the creation of a select committee to probe what some lawmakers have dubbed “weaponized government.”

Negotiations between McCarthy and Republicans who remain unconvinced about his conservative bona fides are continuing with just days to go before the speaker's election is set to be held.

Select committee floated

As the Republicans prepare to reclaim control of the House, two of the party's top lawmakers have already announced plans to conduct comprehensive investigations into Hunter Biden's questionable foreign business dealings and, by extension, any involvement of his father, President Joe Biden.

Reps. James Comer (R-KY) and Jim Jordan (OH), incoming chairs of the Oversight and Judiciary committees, respectively, have pledged to demonstrate to the American people the breadth of influence peddling in which the first son and other Biden family members have long engaged and from which they allegedly benefited financially, as NPR has reported.

Comer, for his part, has leveled accusations of Biden family money laundering, tax evasion, fraud, and other offenses he says constitute “abuse of the highest order” and therefore deserve a comprehensive congressional examination.

That, according to some conservatives whose vote for speaker McCarthy is still courting, is insufficient investigatory action, and they are calling on McCarthy to guarantee that another panel will be launched, one charged with probing recent actions of the Justice Department, the FBI, the IRS, and even Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Though some Republicans have voiced concerns that the creation of such a panel could complicate or interfere with the probes already in the offing, those hoping for a broad-based review of what they call “weaponized government” are attempting to provide assurances that no such difficulties would arise.

"Targeted" approach sought

According to Politico, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) has been conducting what he called “good conversations” with Comer and Jordan, but still maintains the wisdom of a more unified approach to the probes he and his conservative colleagues want to see initiated.

“It needs to be targeted the right way. You don't get many bites at the apple. You've got to get it done right,” Roy said.

Roy and like-minded members have yet to declare who they believe should helm the new panel, but in the estimation of at least one McCarthy supporter, if the demand must be granted, Jordan must be placed in charge.

Consensus elusive

As conservative lawmakers pushing for the new panel contend that they do not wish to get in the way of Comer and Jordan's probes, but simply believe that a coordinated hub of investigation should exist to ensure that all bases are covered.

Those in favor of the panel's creation have suggested that it could free up Oversight and Judiciary resources, which will already be taxed to the hilt, but Comer, for his part, remains unconvinced of the necessity of such a move.

“I feel like we've got enough committees already to do all of that. I'm pretty passionate about that,” Comer said, adding, “I'm not a big select committee or special counsel kind of guy.”

Politico also quoted Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), who opined that Comer and Jordan “have the bandwidth” to handle all required investigations, and that if a select committee is to come into existence, both lawmakers should support that outcome.

“If you're going to form that kind of committee, I want Jim Jordan to be the chair. Turns out, he's already the chair of the committee who can go after the weaponization of government,” Armstrong stated.

Compromise afoot?

As the Washington Examiner notes, the aforementioned select committee is not the only potential concession being contemplated by McCarthy on the eve of the speaker's vote, with the California congressman reportedly vowing in private meetings earlier this week to lower the number of votes necessary to call a floor vote to oust a sitting speaker.

This latest gambit to persuade those who remain skeptical of McCarthy's suitability for the speaker's role does not have vocal enthusiasm from those already in his camp, but a group of lawmakers wishing to see him elected recently issued a letter pledging their loyalty despite certain lingering reservations about the aforementioned offers of compromise.

“We remain concerned that some of these changes could unintentionally yield more power to our Democrat colleagues. Nevertheless, we are willing to support these changes if, and only if doing so, will bring our conference together around Speaker-designate McCarthy,” they wrote, but what ultimately transpires on Jan. 3 when the pivotal votes are cast still remains to be seen.