WASHINGTON — In a de-escalation of internal tensions in the Republican Party, House Republicans are now seeking to refer a resolution to impeach Biden to two committees, rather than immediately voting on impeachment of the president.
The House of Representatives will vote Thursday to send a resolution by Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., to the Homeland Security and Judiciary Committees. For now, forgoing the impeachment vote will allow Republicans to avoid a messy row that has already divided the conference.
The House Rules Committee brought up the plan at a last-minute meeting Wednesday night after teaming up with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-California, who spoke earlier in the day at a closed session the grassroots Republicans asked to oppose Boebert’s resolution, Three Republican sources who heard the comments corroborated the reasoning that such an important issue should go through the committee process.
Republican lawmakers who did not find it appropriate to impeach President Joe Biden can now vote to refer Boebert’s resolution to committees for further work, rather than having to cast a vote to bring the resolution on the table or nullify it — which would have led to the decision Some GOP lawmakers are politically vulnerable in the 2024 primary.
“I think it’s for the best for everyone,” McCarthy told reporters when asked why he wanted to proceed with the resolution in this way.
As she exited the House room, Boebert told reporters, “A sophomore in Congress just made the House do its job.”
“I’m okay with the trial happening…if we take this to this committee, then we’re forcing the committee to do the work of impeaching Joe Biden,” the second-term MP said.
When asked about McCarthy’s private suggestion that it might be premature to directly negotiate an impeachment resolution, Boebert said, “I don’t think there’s anything premature about that. We should have been working on impeachment since we picked up the gavel in this Congress, and I haven’t seen any progress on the committees. And so I have voiced my privileged resolve to enforce action. And it seems that nothing happens in Washington, DC without violence.”
By offering a privileged resolution, Boebert was able to force a House vote on impeachment. The House of Representatives will still consider the resolution Thursday as needed, but will vote on whether to refer it to congressional committees.
Boebert told reporters Wednesday night that if nothing happens in committee that she was “promised,” “yes, I will introduce a privileged resolution any day for the rest of my time here in Congress.”
Tom Emmer, group leader of the Republican Party in the Minnesota House of Representatives, declined to say whether the Republican leadership pressured Boebert to change course on the resolution.
“We spoke to Lauren about a number of things. We want Lauren to be successful. So we try to work with her on everything,” he said.
When Democrats controlled the chamber, McCarthy had argued vehemently that they rushed to impeach President Donald Trump, not just once, but twice. Now he warns that Republicans could fall into the same trap if they immediately vote to impeach Biden.
McCarthy confirmed to reporters Wednesday afternoon that he currently opposes an impeachment trial, arguing that “premature” prosecution “undermines” the Republican Party’s efforts to investigate Biden.
“It’s very serious,” he said of the impeachment. “As such, I do not wish to do anything that would harm the investigation we are conducting.”
The House Oversight and Judiciary Committees are conducting inquiries focused on Biden.
Boebert didn’t attend the weekly session of the GOP conference in the House of Representatives, the lawmakers said, so she didn’t directly hear McCarthy’s earlier comments. Boebert, a conservative bomber and harsh McCarthy critic, shocked her peers when she presented her impeachment articles Tuesday night.
“Republicans must unite and oust this man for his dereliction of duty on the southern border.” she tweeted earlier on Wednesday.
Some Republicans assumed the resolution did not have enough GOP votes to pass. Moderate Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., earlier Wednesday said the impeachment should be done via the committee process and confirmed he would support Democrat efforts to “table” or overturn Boebert’s resolution.
“I think if people see that we’re being honest about this and that impeachment is a very serious matter, it should go through the committee,” Bacon told reporters. “I have a feeling it was cheapened at the last Congress. We shouldn’t be following in the same footsteps.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., said Wednesday night: “I have to give some credit to Rep. Boebert because I think if she had wanted to force the issue she could have taken the vote the other way around.”
Boebert’s resolution is part of a larger push by the GOP majority in the House of Representatives to retaliate against their political enemies. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted party-aligned to pass a resolution introduced by Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Florida, to convict former Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, D-California, the lead prosecutor in Trump’s first impeachment trial. And Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has vowed to introduce more privileged resolutions to impeach Biden and other senior government officials. Greene, a McCarthy ally who has been at odds with Boebert for months, accused Boebert of copying her own articles on Biden’s impeachment.
“I had already filed an impeachment hearing against Joe Biden over the border and asked her to help fund mine — she didn’t do that,” Greene said. “She basically copied my articles, then featured them, and then turned them into a privileged resolution.”
When asked about Greene’s claims that she copied her resolution, Boebert said, “I’m not in middle school.”