The White House stepped up its attacks against House Republicans on Wednesday after conference leaders appointed some incendiary conservatives to key committees, signaling the start of a bitter back-and-forth as the GOP readies its probes of the Biden administration.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that House Republicans owe the country an explanation of why they “handed over the keys to the most extreme MAGA members of the Republican Party.”
“These are members who have promoted violent rhetoric and dangerous conspiracy theories including suggesting violence against political opponents, trafficking in anti-Semitic lies, and defending and downplaying a violent insurrection against our democracy,” she said.
The House Republican Steering Committee voted Tuesday to appoint Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Lauren Boebert of Colorado to the House Oversight Committee.
That panel has promised to carry out the GOP’s marquee investigation into the Biden family’s far-flung foreign business dealings and alleged influence-peddling schemes.
Ms. Greene and Mr. Gosar were both removed from their committee assignments under the Democrats’ reign last Congress.
Ms. Greene lost her assignments in February 2021 after offensive disparagement of several Democratic lawmakers in social-media posts.
Mr. Gosar lost his assignments months later in December after posting an anime-style video online depicting a sword-fighting battle where he appears to slash Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, and attack President Biden.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, has vowed to remove several incendiary Democrats from committees from which he says their misdeeds disqualify them.
He has said he will remove Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both from California, from the intelligence panel.
Earlier this week, the White House launched an assault against Mr. McCarthy, accusing him of failing to detail the deals he made with Republican holdouts to secure speakership.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates raised fears that the “secret agreements” between Mr. McCarthy and roughly 20 of “the most MAGA members” in the conference could “impact the lives of every American.”
“An unprecedented tax hike on the middle class and a national abortion ban are just a glimpse of the secret, backroom deals Speaker McCarthy made with extreme MAGA members to end this month’s chaotic elections and claim the gavel,” Mr. Bates said Tuesday. “The American people have a right to know — now — which is why we are calling on him to make every single one of them public immediately.”
Mr. McCarthy won the speakership this month after 15 ballots that spanned days of tense negotiations with a group of ultra-conservative holdouts.
In order to finally clinch victory, Mr. McCarthy made a series of concessions, including a house rules package that will give House members more power to eject him as speaker and a commitment to adopting a fiscal 2024 resolution that balances the federal budget within the decade.
President Biden has largely steered clear of attacking Mr. McCarthy by name and has pledged to reach across the aisle as he rounds the second half of his administration under a divided Congress.
Administration officials, however, launched their offensive against Republicans as Mr. Biden continues to strain under increasing calls for transparency regarding his mishandling of classified documents.
The White House confirmed last week that classified government documents dating back to Mr. Biden’s time as vice president were discovered at a Washington office building that he used when he was an honorary professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
The documents were discovered on Nov. 2, just six days before the midterm elections. The matter became public only when it was uncovered by CBS News after the midterms.
A second batch of classified documents was later found in Mr. Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, garage by White House aides. Mr. Biden’s staff notified the Justice Department that it had discovered the second batch on Dec. 20.
The White House has disclosed further findings of classified documents at Mr. Biden’s residence in a series of statements in recent days.
House Republicans have pledged probes into the matter and raised alarm over the White House’s failure to disclose Mr. Biden’s mishandling of the material soon after it was identified.