[guest post by Dana]
Now that the Republicans have (barely) won the House, what’s on their agenda? To a great degree, it will depend on whether the group of far-right MAGA members and more traditional Republicans can coalesce around a cause:
The main question going forward is whether Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, who was nominated Tuesday to lead the new Republican majority, can achieve the unity necessary to perform fundamental tasks such as funding the government, or whether unyielding far-right members will make the new speaker’s life miserable and the House an unmanageable mess.
In a reflection of the GOP at large, the House remains somewhat divided between the more traditional Republicans and the MAGA Republican members, whose loyal base expects them to fulfill their promises to launch any number of investigations into the Biden administration. In the run-up to the midterms, we repeatedly heard about these possible investigations. Even before the election and even though they were in the minority, House Republicans had introduced “14 impeachment resolutions, more than three times the number Democrats did in the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency.” And while Kevin McCarthy claims he doesn’t want to use “impeachment as a political weapon,” he is open to the process “if anyone ever rises to that occasion.” Here is a list of the longheld grievances that Republicans have said they want to pursue:
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky…said the Oversight Committee likely would subpoena Hunter Biden and demand the Treasury Department turn over any suspicious bank records linked to the president’s son. Comer unsuccessfully sought the documents previously but believes the Treasury Department won’t be able to reject his request now that Republicans are in the majority.
Comer told CBS News last week he believes Hunter Biden’s overseas business affairs may have “compromised this White House” and “therefore, it’s a national security concern.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who is poised to become the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has suggested the panel will investigate alleged political interference by the FBI and Justice Department in the Hunter Biden probe.
In an August op-ed for FoxNews.com, McCarthy, Rep. Michael McCaul and other Republicans said the United States’ chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan one year earlier warrants greater scrutiny in a GOP-led House.
The op-ed coincided with an report issued by House Republicans on the Foreign Affairs Committee, which McCaul is likely to chair starting next year. The report accused the Biden administration of making decisions based on politics and lacking a solid exit strategy.
In August 2021, 13 service members were killed by a suicide bomber outside the Kabul airport, as they worked to evacuate Americans and Afghans from the country, which the Taliban had reclaimed.
“These strategic failures are too grave to ignore,” the Republicans wrote in the op-ed. “That is why House Republicans are committed to pursuing answers to Biden’s disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal.
McCarthy told Fox News last month that if Republicans took control of the House they would set up a committee to investigate how COVID-19 spread from China.
House Republicans will likely grill Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top medical adviser to both Biden and Trump during the pandemic, and they could also dig into federal guidance on masking, vaccine mandates and school closures.
Senate Republicans last month released a report that said “it appears reasonable to conclude” that COVID-19 escaped from a lab.
Within hours of FBI agents searching Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in search of government documents in August, McCarthy released a statement directed at Garland threatening to investigate the Justice Department.
“The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization,” McCarthy said then.
“Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear you calendar,” the Republican House leader added.
Republicans’ have spent the past two years railing about the soaring number of encounters between law enforcement and migrants at the southern border.
In addition to blaming Biden for what they see as lax border policies, they also have repeatedly ripped Mayorkas, the Homeland Security secretary, whom they argue has been derelict in his duties…
The Republicans’ inquiry into border issues is likely to include deaths of migrants at the border; the smuggling of illegal drugs, including fentanyl, into the U.S.; and the discontinuation of the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers.”
Interestingly, the far-right faction of the House has already been successful in securing a promise for an investigation into one of their pet causes:
In a closed-door meeting of Republicans on Monday, right-wing lawmakers including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia extracted a promise that their leaders would investigate Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Justice Department for their treatment of defendants jailed in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
The promise to investigate Pelosi and the DOJ coupled with this excerpt of a letter from Rep. Steve Scalise (No. 2 House Republican) to his colleagues, lends credence to the observation that “the House agenda is investigative, not legislative”:
We must be relentless in our oversight of this administration. From the politicization of the Justice Department to the job-crushing regulations coming from every agency, we need to shine a bright light on the actions and policy failures of this administration.
It looks like McCarthy is in for a tough time if he hopes to focus on anything other than inflicting pain on the current administration.