House Republicans, who are increasingly confident they will take back the majority next year, say they will launch tough oversight investigations of the Biden administration and hold accountable Democratic lawmakers who abused majority rule against GOP members.
Republicans told The Washington Times they will launch a series of committee investigations including digging into the Justice Department’s coordination with the White House to investigate parents protesting their school boards, the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and issues related to Hunter Biden, President Biden‘s son.
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, ran down a list of issues he would like to hit should Republicans get the gavels after next year’s elections.
“Thousands of Americans’ tax returns were made public. We better figure out how that happened,” he said, referencing the disclosure of a trove of tax records of America’s wealthiest people that was somehow obtained by the nonprofit investigative journalism outlet ProPublica.
He also had Mr. Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, in his sights.
“Dr. Fauci misled the country for over a year and a half. We need to figure out how that happened and what, what took place with the virus,” he said.
Republicans on the Oversight Committee also want to investigate issues concerning first son Hunter Biden’s artwork that has sold for six figures to unknown buyers.
Rep. Darrell Issa, who led the Oversight Committee when the GOP last had the majority, said a new Republican majority should probe the chaotic pullout from Afghanistan and policies and conduct that have oppressed Americans on the home front.
“It always comes down to anything that stifles America’s freedom that should be looked at first. Anytime Americans die or are harmed because of policies or activities, we should investigate. And those should be put first,” said Mr. Issa, California Republican.
Mr. Issa said that the Obama-era investigations he launched into the deadly Benghazi attack, the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal and the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservatives all dealt with either loss of life or oppression of U.S. citizens.
“After the terrible situation in Afghanistan, the destruction, throughout the past summers, the Democrats are focusing on Jan. 6 to the exclusion of other loss of life and damage,” he said. “Clearly, they’re not looking at the oppression of Americans, both under COVID guise and in other ways.”
Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, another Republican on the Oversight and Judiciary committees, wants to turn the tables on Democratic lawmakers who applied intense scrutiny to GOP members, including probing Democrats’ support of racial justice rioters who set fires and looted in cities across the country during the summer of 2020.
Mr. Biggs is presently targeted by House Democrats who claim he is linked to the Jan. 6 rioters.
“I think there’s a lot of places that we’ll need to look into. I think a lot of the political unrest that took place last summer and the encouragement and support given by members of Congress to that unrest,” he said. “I’m not prepared to name anybody right now. I would imagine that, that there will be a series of investigations that happen.”
Anger among Republicans runs deep over the treatment they say they endure under Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team since Democrats won the majority in 2018. The Times asked Mrs. Pelosi if she was concerned about a Republican majority launching investigations into the Biden administration. The speaker would not comment.
The most prominent example cited by GOP lawmakers happened in February when Democrats removed a Republican member, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, from all her committees because of her offensive social media posts directed at Democrats. The posts were made before she joined Congress.
It was the first time in the history of Congress that the majority party stripped committees assignments from a lawmaker in the minority party.
Democratic leaders are now considering stripping committee assignments from another Republican lawmaker, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, because of an anime video he posted that included a giant with the face of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, being killed in a sword fight.
For now, a censure resolution is in the works.
“It’s interesting that Speaker Pelosi has set many precedents that I ever thought could be set in this House. They kicked Marjorie off her committees. That was a terrible decision, and unfortunately, that precedent has now been set,” said Rep. Rodney Davis, Illinois Republican.
“And they then kicked off Jim Jordan and Jim Banks from the [Jan. 6] Select Committee, when they knew that there was a very well-balanced group on that select committee of Republicans, but they didn’t want that balanced voice,” he continued. “We’re seeing that play out with the sham circus the Jan. 6 Select Committee has become.”
When asked if he thought a Republican would suggest stripping a Democrat of their committee if they take the majority, Mr. Davis said Democrats set the stage for those types of actions.
“I would bet that there will be some proposals once the majority happened to do that. Now, whether that happens, who knows? But, it’s unfortunate. It’s unfortunate that Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats in the majority have decided to set precedents that, will reverberate throughout the fabric of this House for decades to come.”
Rather than worry about payback from a GOP majority, rank-and-file House Democrats are focused on passing the multitrillion-dollar social welfare and climate bill, which is the bulk of Mr. Biden’s agenda. Democrats hope that passing the massive package will energize the base and help them retain the House majority in the 2022 elections.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Washington Democrat and Progressive Caucus chair, said a Republican majority targeting Democrats with investigations wouldn’t be anything new. She said it happened when Republicans had the majority during the Obama and Trump administrations.
“We’ve gone through four years of that. We know exactly what that looks like,” she said in an interview. “And it was very, very painful and destructive to our democracy. And it’s why we got to hang on to our majorities.”