Some House conservatives are warily eyeing Speaker Kevin McCarthy as he ramps up rhetoric about a potential impeachment inquiry of President Biden, concerned he is “dangling” the suggestion over their heads to gain more wiggle room in the ongoing talks over government spending.
“It’s almost as if the Speaker is trying to dangle the prospect of proceeding with an impeachment inquiry to attempt to leverage people to vote for a clean [continuing resolution] or other spending proposals that do not comply with the agreement made when we agreed to support him for Speaker in January,” Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., told Fox News Digital on Tuesday.
“An impeachment inquiry is called for against Biden because of the evidence of corrupt dealing on behalf of his son,” Bishop said, adding that he believes impeachment probes should also be opened against Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
“It should never be connected with the idea of trying to coerce members to vote for a spending provision that is otherwise unwarranted.”
The House does not return from August recess until next week, but battle lines are already being drawn over how to fund the government in the next fiscal year. The House Freedom Caucus and other conservatives have urged McCarthy to force deeper spending cuts and to attach GOP priorities to any short or long-term deal, though that’s unlikely to get Senate or White House approval.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have acknowledged that a continuing resolution, known as a CR, is likely needed as a temporary funding patch while a deal is hashed out. Federal funding runs out on Sept. 30, and taking no action before the deadline would risk a partial government shutdown. Conservatives have warned they will not vote for a “clean” CR that simply extends priorities of the previous Democrat-controlled Congress.
Meanwhile, two sources told Fox News Digital in August that McCarthy has also floated the possibility of holding a floor vote sometime in September to open a Biden impeachment inquiry.
“He’s using impeachment to distract from the issues that he has with the appropriations bills,” one GOP lawmaker said at the time.
McCarthy has not given any public indication of when he’d hold an impeachment inquiry vote, but he told “Mornings With Maria” last month that impeachment was a “natural step forward” in the investigative process. He told Breitbart recently that a vote is a necessary step before proceeding with the inquiry.
The conservative lawmakers who spoke with Fox News Digital were largely supportive of a Biden impeachment inquiry, but many were still hesitant to trust McCarthy after claiming the GOP got “rolled” in the debt limit deal.
“The American people will not be fooled into believing that talking about impeachment inquiry in some way diminishes our responsibility to cut spending,” Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., told Fox News Digital. Good supports impeaching Biden over the border crisis, he said. “Do I think there is the possibility, if not the probability, that it’s intended to be a distraction? I would agree with it, or there is that possibility. However, it’s not fooling anyone.”
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, policy chief of the House Freedom Caucus, fired off a warning shot at House GOP leaders over the weekend: “To the [House GOP] – hiding behind impeachment to screw America with status quo massive funding…will not end well.”
Fox News Digital reached out to McCarthy’s office but did not immediately hear back.
But not all conservatives are on the same page. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., a McCarthy ally, indicated she could support a spending deal that is tied to a Biden impeachment inquiry vote.
Meanwhile, Rep. Ben Cline, R-Va., a member of both the Judiciary and Appropriations committees, told Fox News Digital that House Republicans can “walk and chew gum at the same time.”
“I think both tracks, the spending track and the investigatory track, are on separate courses that are heating up at precisely the same time. But that is really more just happenstance of the calendar rather than anything else,” Cline said of the timing.
“I’m confident that we always knew that it will be a challenge to finish our appropriations process by Oct. 1. Had we started from more conservative positions than the debt limit agreement gave us, I think we would have passed most, if not all, of the appropriations bills by now,” he said. “But the investigatory track is dependent on the administration’s cooperation, or lack thereof, and that’s why we are just beginning to find out truly the extent to which [Biden] engaged pay-to-play operation with agents and companies affiliated with foreign adversaries.”