House Republicans leading the GOP’s top investigations next year are raising the possibility that disagreements with House speaker and rule setting votes in January could postpone critical investigatory work.
Incoming Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who is planning probes into the Justice Department, the Biden administration’s management of the southern border, big tech, and more, told Breitbart News potential delays are a “real concern.”
“Congress is slow enough when things go right on the first day with a vote on speaker and a vote on rules, and it’s still slow because you have to then get the members on your committee,” Jordan said. “So yeah, I think it’s a real concern, and it’s why we’re all working so hard to see if we can come together and get this done on January 3.”
When the new Republican-led House convenes January 3, members’ first order of business will be to vote on a speaker, then establish House rules, appoint committee members, and adopt rules within committees, all of which must be completed before Republicans can take any substantive committee action, such as holding hearings or issuing subpoenas.
Republicans nominated House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for speaker, but because they will have a narrow majority, a handful of outspoken defectors could derail a smooth voting process when the full chamber votes, ultimately creating holdups.
McCarthy is in the midst of negotiations with those in the conservative anti-establishment Freedom Caucus, whose members have largely been the ones opposed to or hesitant about voting for him in January, and the GOP leader has vowed to continue these negotiations and work through multiple rounds, and potentially multiple days, of ballots in January if needed to achieve the necessary majority support.
McCarthy told Breitbart News on Monday evening, though, that “you can’t do anything without getting the speaker done on January 3 — everything stops, committees, subpoenas, everything,” and added that the solution to prevent delays was to get disagreements “settled this week.”
Jordan, the first chairman of the Freedom Caucus when it was founded in 2015, said he believes Republicans are “working in good faith,” adding, “I actually do think we’re going to get to an answer and be ready to go on January 3 to elect Kevin McCarthy as speaker, and then get right into organizing the committees.”
Incoming Oversight Committee chair Rep. James Comer (R-KY), who is planning a high-profile investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings, told Breitbart News in response to a question about the possibility of stalled committee productivity that Republicans have an obligation to their supporters to take action “on day one” after being out of power for two years.
“For two years, the Biden Administration faced no oversight and accountability under one-party Democrat rule,” Comer said. “Americans are eager for that to change in Washington, and we must deliver answers, transparency, and accountability starting on day one.”
Comer has also warned of a scenario in which moderate Republicans and Democrats could come together to vote for a speaker far less conservative than McCarthy should Republicans not unify behind the GOP leader.
Should he be elected, McCarthy’s speaker agenda includes creating a Select Committee on China to examine and counter threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). He has designated Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) to chair the anticipated committee.
Gallagher emphasized America’s adversarial relationship with the CCP in a statement to Breitbart News and said Republicans uniting behind McCarthy is imperative to the committee’s work beginning promptly.
Under a Republican majority, I will establish a China Select Committee to expose and fight against the Chinese Communist Party's cyber, trade, and military threats against America.
@RepGallagher is exceptionally qualified and is the right person to serve as the chairman.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) December 8, 2022
“The Chinese Communist Party is committing genocide, pilfering the American economy, and threatening our national security. The Select Committee on China will give us an opportunity to expose these threats and fight back,” Gallagher said. “House Republicans need to unite behind Leader McCarthy so we can hit the ground running on January 3 and push tough policies that combat CCP aggression.”
Some have indicated worry that committee work could be delayed into February or even March if the prerequisite speaker and rules voting is prolonged, but Jordan noted that “if all goes well,” a timeline in which committee work begins in late January or early February is feasible.
Write to Ashley Oliver at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.
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