The House of Representatives took a significant step in its impeachment inquiry into President Biden on Wednesday, voting 221 to 212 to formalize the process. The measure, which passed with all Republicans voting in favor and all present Democrats voting against, was met with cheers from the GOP side and silence from the Democratic side.
The move by Republican leaders comes after they argued that a formal vote was necessary to compel the White House to comply with their investigation. “We are now at a pivotal moment in our inquiry. We will soon be questioning several members of the Biden family and their associates about allegations of influence-peddling,” said Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer in a speech before the vote.
The investigation has primarily focused on President Biden’s brother, James Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden, who is currently under federal investigation for tax and firearm-related charges. The GOP-led committees on Oversight, Ways & Means, and the Judiciary have been looking into accusations that Biden had used his position as vice president in the Obama administration to enrich his family through foreign businesses.
Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., first called for the House to open an impeachment inquiry into Biden in September. However, the White House has dismissed the probe as illegitimate without a formal vote on the matter. In response, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., told Fox News Digital that the White House had “requested” the House vote itself.
🚨BREAKING: The House has officially passed the resolution formally opening an Impeachment Inquiry into Joe Biden. pic.twitter.com/h1TSEuN8uz
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) December 13, 2023
The White House sent a letter stating that the subpoenas issued by Republicans would not be honored or recognized without a full vote of the House. “Our speaker has done exactly what I would expect he would do as a lawyer. We’re going to honor that. We’re going to go ahead and do a full floor vote,” Emmer said. “He knows we’re probably going to have to go to court to enforce these anyway, so might as well eliminate any of the objections that they have.”
Republican representatives stressed the need for a formal vote in order to have the necessary tools to hold presidents accountable. “We don’t want it just to be a knee-jerk reaction,” said Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa.
Meanwhile, President Biden accused the House Republicans of wasting time on political attacks instead of addressing urgent issues such as the crisis at the southern border and inflation. “We need funding to strengthen border security, but Republicans in Congress won’t act to help,” he stated.
Hunter Biden made a surprise appearance outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning, where he had been scheduled to appear for a closed-door deposition with the Oversight Committee. He delivered a brief statement to reporters, defending his father’s innocence before leaving the Capitol.
In his statement, Biden accused Congress of refusing to help him address important issues. “Instead of doing their job on the urgent work that needs to be done, they are choosing to waste time on this baseless political stunt that even Republicans in Congress admit is not supported by facts,” he said.
This vote marks a crucial development in the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Biden. With both sides digging in their heels, it remains to be seen how the investigation will progress and what new revelations may come to light.