House Republicans released the text of their resolution authorizing their impeachment probe on Thursday, then left for the weekend. Note that the resolution doesn’t state why they intend to impeach President Joe Biden. Because there is no reason. This just formalizes the circus in the Judiciary, Oversight, and Ways and Means committees.
Speaker Mike Johnson gave the green light to this, justifying it by saying that the White House is “stonewalling” the committee’s efforts to concoct high crimes and misdemeanors out of thin air, making this “a necessary constitutional step.” The House Rules Committee is taking the resolution up next Tuesday, and the House as a whole will probably vote on it before leaving that Thursday or Friday for the rest of the year.
Remarkably, the resolution will probably pass. Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado told NBC News that he’s the only Republican he knows of who plans to vote against it. He’s probably right. The supposed “moderate” Republicans, including the “Biden 18,” signed off on impeachment a few months ago, back when former Speaker Kevin McCarthy launched the inquiry in a failed bid to appease the maniacs and save his job. That didn’t work.
It’s possible this resolution will be the only thing the House Republicans “accomplish” before the end of the year, never mind that there’s a boatload of the nation’s business that really should be done by both the House and Senate that they probably won’t get to.
That includes the supplemental foreign-aid package to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. If a Christmas miracle happened in the Senate, and some bipartisan agreement were reached, there’s no guarantee that Johnson would agree to put it on the House floor. He’s drawn some pretty stark lines around what he’ll accept. He could be bullied by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans into accepting an agreement, but that’s extremely unlikely to happen before Christmas.
That’s not all that will be simmering on back burners until January. The Federal Aviation Adminstration’s authorization expires Dec. 31, and the Senate is mired in a fight that shows no signs of being resolved soon. It could attach a temporary extension to some other bill going through, but there’s only one in the pipeline—the National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate could try to pass a stand-alone extension with unanimous consent, but that would require both a unanimous and generous GOP to allow it, and a quick turnaround in the House. It’s not impossible.
As for the NDAA, the Senate should pass it easily next week. But the House is a bigger problem. Johnson intends to pass it under suspension of the rules. That would mean the chamber’s far-right maniacs would have less opportunity to derail it, but it would also require a two-thirds majority to pass. The hard-liners are gearing up for a fight, wanting to bring the NDAA down for a variety of reasons, mostly because all the poison pills about abortion and health care for transgender troops they included in their version got stripped out by the Senate.
One other expiring matter is reauthorization of warrantless surveillance under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Johnson has had a series of missteps over the issue, finally agreeing to allowing a short-term extension to be included in the combined House/Senate NDAA, but that angered the two committee chairs—the House Judiciary Committee’s Jim Jordan and the House Intelligence Committee’s Mike Turner—who have competing long-term reauthorization bills. Because Johnson bungled that, he has agreed to bring both bills up next week head-to-head to see what passes. That vote doesn’t need to happen—the program will be extended in the NDAA—but Johnson’s mishandling of it forces him to take up precious floor time.
What’s left out? Anything that gets Congress closer to a government funding plan. They’ve got two deadlines staring them down—Jan. 19 and Feb. 2—and have made no progress on either. But sure, let’s use up precious hours and days on an impeachment fiasco that has zero chance of advancing beyond the House floor.
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