Monday, June 26th 2023, 5:34 pm
The passage in the U.S. House last week of a resolution to take the initial steps toward potentially impeaching President Joe Biden is being welcomed on the far right, while at the same time reinforcing concerns many less extreme members harbor that the far right has too much control of the Republican conference.
While it's unlikely that even the most moderate Republicans in Washington could be accused of wanting to protect Biden from impeachment, it is only the most extreme conservatives at this point, before an investigation has been conducted, who seem inclined to charge him with impeachable offenses.
"When a president tramples on the Constitution and ignores the laws on the books," said Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) during floor debate last Thursday, "it is Congress's solemn duty to restore our constitutional balance through Articles of Impeachment."
Congresswoman Boebert believes Biden should be impeached for, she claims, ignoring and failing to enforce the nation's immigration laws. Her Freedom Caucus colleague Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) agrees, but used an expletive to call out Boebert on the floor, reportedly accusing her of copying her impeachment articles and using the spectacle she was creating to boost her fundraising.
"That’s who’s in charge here, the MAGA extremists," said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) who managed floor debate for the Democrats, "and, frankly, they can try to impeach Joe Biden all they want, but all they are doing is impeaching themselves."
Rep. McGovern, the Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee, went on to suggest that the real reason these far-right members were prematurely pushing impeachment articles was because former President Donald Trump told them to do so.
"Now, I know many of my Republican colleagues say in private what they’re not willing to say here in public," Rep. McGovern continued. "which is that they think that this is an embarrassment."
Oklahoma Congresswoman Stephanie Bice did not say it's an embarrassment but did acknowledge the episode caused some consternation for leadership.
"Look, you have a couple of members that have sort of gone rogue, if you will," said Rep. Bice (R-OK5) in an interview Friday, "and this is a perfect example."
But Bice dismisses the suggestion that the party's extreme wing is 'in charge'. She admits the GOP's slim majority has forced compromise within the caucus, but says they've still been able to pass solid pieces of legislation. But what, she says, they can't do is appear willing to shortcut normal procedure simply because they can and Boebert's initial plan of forcing a floor vote on the impeachment articles last week, she says, was problematic.
"This is not something we should do flippantly," Rep. Bice said, "it is a very serious charge and we need to make sure we were doing this in a thoughtful and methodical way."
And after Thursday's 219-208 party-line vote, that's what should happen, Bice says, as the articles have now been referred to committees of jurisdiction -- Judiciary and Homeland Security, which she says is appropriate.
"I think we can all agree that there is a huge issue, a crisis, at the southern border and that nothing is being done," Bice stated, "and so, yes, this will be heard in Homeland Security committee."
But until the committees of jurisdiction can actually investigate and put together a case, Bice says it's too soon to be deciding the president should be impeached.
"Again, we need facts," said Bice. "I’m not willing to make a decision of that magnitude without having facts."
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