Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Friday said he would only open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Biden with a full House vote — shutting down talk of Republicans potentially moving forward without one.
“To open an impeachment inquiry is a serious matter, and House Republicans would not take it lightly or use it for political purposes. The American people deserve to be heard on this matter through their elected representatives,” McCarthy told Breitbart News on Friday. “That’s why, if we move forward with an impeachment inquiry, it would occur through a vote on the floor of the People’s House and not through a declaration by one person.”
McCarthy’s statement follows a Monday CNN report that said Republicans discussed whether they could move forward on an impeachment inquiry without having a full House vote in order to get around a lack of GOP support.
While McCarthy has said that he sees an impeachment inquiry as a “natural step forward” in the House GOP’s investigations into Biden and his family’s foreign business dealings, some moderate members have balked, saying that they do not see enough evidence to take that step.
There is no constitutional requirement to vote to authorize an inquiry. But not taking a vote would contradict McCarthy’s stance from 2019, when he urged Democrats to take a formal vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry into former President Trump.
Taking a full House vote would also aid McCarthy in showing full conference buy-in, as well as help boost the legal argument that impeachment could help Republicans produce more information from the Biden administration in court.
Any impeachment inquiry vote would need support from a majority of the chamber. With the slim House majority and likely unified opposition from House Democrats, McCarthy would be able to lose just four GOP votes on authorizing an impeachment inquiry, assuming all members vote.
The White House has said Biden was not involved in his family’s business dealings, and Republicans have not shown that Biden directly benefited from those business dealings while he was vice president or made policy decisions based on his family’s businesses.