The impeachment inquiry is already well underway, but Republicans hope the House action will stifle Democratic criticism that they didn’t follow proper procedure by starting the inquiry without a vote.
Johnson has stressed the difference between an authorization vote and an actual impeachment vote against the president.
“This vote is not a vote to impeach President Biden,” Johnson said at a press conference this week. “This is a vote to continue the inquiry of impeachment. It’s a necessary constitutional step.”
Republicans say they’re considering impeachment because they suspect Biden enriched his family by doing favors for son Hunter Biden’s foreign business interests when Joe Biden handled U.S. foreign policy as vice president years ago. So far, their evidence is lacking, despite the conflict of interest presented by Hunter Biden’s work at that time.
The younger Biden has refused Republican demands for a closed-door deposition, instead insisting that his testimony be public. Republicans this week threatened to hold him in contempt of Congress.
The impeachment inquiry against Joe Biden is a clear effort to trivialize the two impeachments of former President Donald Trump, now the likely Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential election. Trump also faced credible corruption allegations because he didn’t divest from his business empire, instead simply handing control to his sons. Trump’s hotel in Washington took in millions of dollars from foreign governments during his presidency.
“Everyone knows that the floundering Biden impeachment probe is designed to give Donald Trump something to say when it’s pointed out he has been twice impeached and is a proven fraudster, sexual assailant and defamer of women who now faces 91 felony charges in federal and state court,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said in a press release Thursday.
After having said the House wouldn’t open an impeachment inquiry without a vote, then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in September directed House committees to do just that, prompting relentless criticism from Democrats. McCarthy’s move suggested that there wouldn’t have been enough Republican votes to carry an authorizing resolution.
This week, moderate Republicans who have previously been skeptical of impeachment seemed open to voting for an authorizing resolution, however. Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) pointed to recent White House statements suggesting that Biden’s administration didn’t need to comply with the effort because the House hadn’t voted.
“I feel like now we need to have [a vote] just so he provides information,” Bacon told HuffPost. “I don’t believe in revenge impeachments or anything like that.”
The House Rules Committee on Thursday posted the text of the impeachment inquiry resolution, with a committee meeting set for Tuesday. A floor vote should follow sometime after that.