House Republicans may lean on a tactic used by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to push forward an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden without majority support in the chamber, according to a new report.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has spoken with other members of the Republican caucus in recent weeks to formulate a strategy on an impeachment inquiry into Biden. The House Speaker does not yet have the votes in the House to bring an inquiry up for a vote in the chamber, however, according to CNN.
McCarthy is on a fairly tight timeline since he hopes to start the impeachment inquiry by the end of September. In order to save his moderate members a vote on the impeachment inquiry, McCarthy and other top Republicans are considering a precedent started by Pelosi: beginning the inquiry first, then bringing it up for a vote later, sources told CNN.
There is no constitutional requirement that an official impeachment inquiry begin with a vote in the chamber. Pelosi broke historical precedent, however, in unilaterally announcing an official impeachment inquiry into former President Donald Trump.
“Today, I am announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry,” Pelosi said ahead of Trump’s first impeachment. She said various House investigations already ongoing into Trump would be folded under the “umbrella” of an official impeachment inquiry.
The announcement saved some in the Democratic caucus from taking a vote that may have drawn backlash from their constituents. Pelosi’s move at the time generated furious reactions from Republicans who said the inquiry should be approved by a majority of the House.
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Former Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) said in a social media post at the time that “claiming the House is conducting an impeachment inquiry doesn’t make it so. Until the full House votes to authorize an inquiry, nobody is conducting a formal inquiry.”
The impeachment inquiry went forward for over a month before it was brought up for and passed a vote in the House.
McCarthy is now considering a similar strategy that would protect moderate members of his caucus elected in Biden-leaning areas from taking a controversial vote that could get them in trouble with voters. Since Pelosi edged around the customary rules in the Trump impeachment, Republicans appear ready to accept an official inquiry launched under similar circumstances.
“I don’t believe that a vote of the House is required to open an impeachment inquiry,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told CNN.
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