In a surprising move that underscores the challenges faced by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in controlling his party, hard-right House Republicans led by Rep. Lauren Boebert forced a vote on Thursday to impeach President Joe Biden.
The impeachment resolution, which charges Biden with “high crimes and misdemeanors” over his handling of the U.S. border with Mexico, was sent to congressional committees following a 219-208 party-line vote.
The unexpected push for impeachment caught many Republicans off guard and was viewed by some as a distraction from other pressing priorities. However, it also highlighted the significant influence that the conservative flank holds over the House, compelling McCarthy to accommodate their hard-right priorities to maintain his position.
The method employed by Boebert, known as a privileged resolution, was also used by Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., to force a vote to censure Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff over his investigations into former President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. This tactic has led some to predict an ongoing trend of such actions. “There’s going to be no end to this,” Schiff said.
In response to the impeachment resolution, Democrats argued that the case against Biden trivializes the seriousness of impeachment and is merely an attempt to distract from the controversies surrounding the twice-impeached Trump. Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern, the top Democrat on the House Rules Committee, criticized the move, stating, “Today they’re dishonoring this House and dishonoring themselves by bringing to the floor this ridiculous impeachment referral resolution.”
To avoid an immediate vote on the impeachment, McCarthy negotiated a deal with Boebert to send the resolution for review to the House Judiciary Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee. However, conservatives are preparing for more such votes, including attempts to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and censure Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson.
Despite the delay, Boebert has threatened to bring her resolution back to the floor “every day for the rest of my time here in Congress,” if the committees do not act on it. This move has sparked anger among rank-and-file Republicans, who resent being forced into the position of having to vote on a resolution to impeach Biden without going through the traditional process of an impeachment inquiry.