Republicans are poised to retake the House of Representatives with perhaps one of the smallest majorities in the last two decades, leading to a divided government in Washington as Democrats retain control of the Senate.
Ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, polls and pundits suggested the GOP would retake both houses of Congress in an expected “red wave.” However, the Nov. 8 election was a disappointment for the Senate GOP after losses in key states like Pennsylvania, Nevada and Arizona. Currently, Republicans are just one seat away from crossing the 218-seat threshold to hold a majority in the House of Representatives, according to the Fox News Decision Desk.
Regardless, Republicans now have the power to quash President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda for the next two years and enact some policies popular with the conservative base, including investigating Hunter Biden’s business dealings, rebuking the findings of the Committee of January 6 and the subpoena of members of the State Department on the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Rebuke the January 6 Committee:
By the time the 118th US Congress formally meets in January 2023, the House of Representatives committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol will already have been dissolved. However, a Republican-controlled House of Representatives will likely ensure that the committee is never revived and that its conclusions are rebuked by House leadership.
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Back in June, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the current Republican House Minority Leader, said it was the “most political and least legitimate committee in American history.” McCarthy is one of the top contenders for Speaker of the House if Republicans retake the House, though he may face challenges within the party.
“It has used subpoenas from Congress to attack Republicans, violated due process and violated political speech by private individuals,” he added of the committee. “It permanently damaged the House of Representatives and divided the country. It is an excuse for the Democrats to push their radical agenda.”
Investigations into Hunter Biden:
Since Biden took office, several senior Republican members on the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees have vowed to investigate his son Hunter’s business dealings should Republicans retake the chamber. In particular, Kentucky Rep. James Comer, who is likely to chair the oversight committee with a Republican majority, said he wants to focus on Hunter’s overseas operations, including deals with Ukrainian gas company Burisma.
The central objective of these investigations is to implicate President Biden in possible wrongdoing regarding his son’s business dealings.
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“There is mounting evidence that Hunter Biden has been peddling access to our opponents around the world,” Comer said on Fox and Friends in October. “The reason we are investigating Hunter Biden is because we believe he poses a national security threat. But we are also concerned that Hunter’s shady dealings have compromised Joe Biden.”
Other Republican members, like Rep. Jim Jordan, have promised to investigate the Judiciary Committee. Additionally, McCarthy could assign committee roles to Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of the Biden administration’s leading critics.
Subpoenas to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2021:
The party that controls the House of Representatives has the power to subpoena members of Biden’s national security apparatus. Republicans in the House of Representatives have vowed to subpoena State Department officials who coordinated the August 2021 withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee released a report in August criticizing the Biden administration for withdrawing from Afghanistan, which killed 13 US soldiers. The report indicates that Republicans want to subpoena the State Department and its members to subpoena documents regarding agreements with the Taliban during the evacuation of US citizens from Kabul.
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“They want Afghanistan to disappear. You can see that in their own internal reviews. They’re either secret or they didn’t release them,” he said Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, the highest-ranking GOP member on the committee. “They just want Afghanistan to disappear.”