WASHINGTON – Republican lawmakers on Thursday unveiled the slew of investigations and Bills they plan to launch in the coming two years with their newly won majority in the House of Representatives.
The revelation offers a glimpse into the partisan feuding and legislative gridlock that lies ahead for Washington with control of Congress split between Republicans and Democrats.
Party leaders vowed to investigate the business dealings of President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, accusing them of defrauding the United States, tax evasion, money laundering and other offences.
Said incoming chairman of the House oversight committee James Comer: “In the 118th Congress, this committee will evaluate the status of Joe Biden’s relationship with his family’s foreign partners and whether he is a president who is compromised or swayed by foreign dollars and influence.”
Mr Comer was speaking at a press conference on the Hunter Biden probe, flanked by incoming chairman of the House judiciary committee Jim Jordan.
“I want to be clear: This is an investigation of Joe Biden, and that’s where the committee will focus in this next Congress,” said Mr Comer.
Republicans have repeatedly alleged that Mr Hunter Biden used his father’s career and connections to enrich himself and peddle access to the government, including when his father served as vice-president.
The White House responded with a statement calling the investigation an act of political revenge, and a waste of time and resources.
“Instead of working with President Biden to address issues important to the American people, like lower costs, congressional Republicans’ top priority is to go after President Biden with politically motivated attacks chock full of long-debunked conspiracy theories,” said White House spokesman Ian Sams.
Still, observers have said that the investigations will put the White House on the defence and take up time and attention.
As a result of the Nov 8 midterm elections, Democrats will control the Senate by a razor-thin margin and Republicans will narrowly control the House when the 118th Congress convenes in January.
Republicans have said they want to repeal the Biden administration’s plan to expand the Internal Revenue Service by 87,000 employees on their first day in power.
They will also focus on energy independence, strengthen border security, and give parents more power over their children’s education in schools as part of a Parents Bill of Rights, among other items outlined in their “Commitment to America” legislative agenda unveiled in September.
But partisan Bills from Republicans are not likely to be passed in the Democrat-held Senate, even if they are passed in the House. Neither will they be signed into law by Mr Biden.
House Republicans will make more headway with their investigations than with legislation. As the majority party, they have control of House committees and can subpoena witnesses or compel documents from government agencies.
Top targets will include Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, whom some Republicans have vowed to impeach over the surge in migrants crossing the US-Mexico border.
Attorney-General Merrick Garland and Federal Bureau of Investigation director Christopher Wray have also come under fire from House Republicans, who alleged that the agencies were politicised and biased against conservatives in a 1,000-page report last week.
More of a long shot will be attempts to impeach Mr Biden, which far-right firebrands such as Ms Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia have called for.
House Republicans have also previously declared intentions to launch investigations into the chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan last year, and the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.