The House has voted to formalize its impeachment inquiry into President Biden on Wednesday, taking a critical step that GOP leaders have argued is necessary to force the White House into complying with their investigation.
The measure passed 221 to 212, with every Republican voting in favor of it and all present Democrats voting against. Light cheering could be heard on the GOP side of the chamber after the measure passed, with pin drop silence on the Democratic side.
“We are now at a pivotal moment in our investigation. We will soon depose and interview several members of the Biden family and their associates about these influence peddling schemes. But we are facing obstruction from the White House,” Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., said on the House floor ahead of the vote.
“The White House is seeking to block key testimony from current and former White House staff. It is also withholding thousands of records from Joe Biden’s time as Vice President. President Biden must be held accountable for his lies, corruption, and obstruction. We have a duty to provide the accountability and transparency that Americans demand and deserve.”
The GOP-led committees on Oversight, Ways & Means and the Judiciary have been investigating Biden over accusations he had leveraged his office of vice president in the Obama administration to enrich his family through foreign businesses.
It’s been heavily centered on one of the president’s brothers, James Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden — who is under federal investigation for tax and firearm-related charges.
Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., directed the House to open an impeachment inquiry into Biden in September, but the White House has dismissed the probe as illegitimate without a formal vote on the matter.
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., told Fox News Digital that the White House “requested” the House vote itself.
“The White House sent a letter…saying that the subpoenas [Republicans] had served will not be honored and won’t even be recognized without a full vote of the House. So 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.”
Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, told Fox News Digital that Republicans were undertaking their vote because they recognize the gravity of impeachment proceedings.
“We don’t want to minimize what it means to have an impeachment, which I think is what the Democrats did. We want to be able to have that tool to be a significant tool to hold presidents accountable,” she said. “We don’t want it just to be a knee jerk reaction.”
Judiciary Committee member Rep. Ben Cline, R-Va., said similarly, “I think the House Republicans will follow the facts where they lead…will make sure that we have the facts, and that we present the facts to the American people.”
In a statement following the vote, Biden accused House Republicans of wasting time with political attacks and avoiding critical issues facing the nation.
“We have to address the situation at our southern border, and I am determined to try to fix the problem. We need funding to strengthen border security, but Republicans in Congress won’t act to help,” Biden said.
Biden said he is also working to “make sure inflation keeps going down and job growth keeps going up” — but accused Congress of refusing to help him.
“Instead of doing anything to help make Americans’ lives better, they are focused on attacking me with lies. 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,” Biden said.
The vote comes hours after Hunter Biden made a surprise appearance outside of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.
He had been scheduled to appear for a closed-door deposition with the Oversight Committee, but instead he delivered a brief statement to reporters on his father’s professed innocence before departing Capitol Hill altogether.