In a statement issued on Tuesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., predicted forthcoming efforts to compel House votes on impeachment, while delivering a warning to Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
“I worked very hard in January to develop a toolkit for House Republicans to use in a productive and positive way. I don’t believe we’ve used those tools as effectively as we should have,” he said.
Speaking to conservative radio host Todd Starnes, Gaetz referenced the intricate negotiations during the unprecedented 15-ballot election that resulted in McCarthy becoming speaker, according to The Hill.
Gaetz said that when the House returns to Washington next week, Republicans must proactively “seize the initiative” with a vote to initiate an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden. Biden is accused of, among other things, participating in his son Hunter’s efforts to secure foreign business deals by trading on the Biden family name.
“That means forcing votes on impeachment. And if Speaker McCarthy stands in our way, he may not have the job long,” Gaetz said.
Amid the electoral complexities that unfolded during McCarthy’s election saga in January, he strategically decided to decrease the threshold required to initiate a “motion to vacate the chair.”
A “motion to vacate the chair” is a parliamentary maneuver available to ordinary lawmakers to remove the speaker of the House of Representatives. Under former GOP rules, this process could have been initiated only by a majority of House Republicans. McCarthy, intent on locking down his speakership, ultimately agreed to permit a single member to initiate such a vote.
At the time, Republicans voiced concerns about this decision, suggesting it could potentially undermine the authority and effectiveness of the speaker due to the lower threshold to be removed from the position, according to ABC News.
It’s against this backdrop, and with divisions within the Republican Party over whether to proceed yet with impeachment, that Gaetz has rolled out his firm stance on moving the matter along.
Meanwhile, McCarthy has found some more moderate members of the House reluctant to proceed on impeachment without firmer evidence of misdeeds; some worry a premature rush to impeachment could hurt Republicans in upcoming elections.
Gaetz would not be the first lawmakers to apply pressure to move on impeachment proceedings. In June, Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., orchestrated a vote on her resolution to impeach Biden, citing concerns over his handling of issues related to the U.S.-Mexico border.
The House ultimately voted, along party lines, to refer Boebert’s impeachment articles to relevant committees for further review.
Jim Thomas ✉
Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.
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