WASHINGTON — The Republican-controlled House voted Thursday to send a resolution to impeach President Joe Biden to a pair of committees, delaying a vote that has created massive headaches for Speaker Kevin McCarthy and sparked a nasty round of GOP infighting.
The House voted 219-208 along party lines after Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., a conservative hard-liner, huddled with McCarthy, R-Calif., on Wednesday night and agreed to forgo her push to force an impeachment vote this week. Boebert's resolution was "privileged," meaning it would have had to receive a floor vote within days without a deal with leadership.
By referring the matter to two committees — Homeland Security and Judiciary — Republicans headed off a hasty impeachment vote that most likely would have failed on the floor, infuriated conservative activists and exposed divisions in the already fragile GOP majority.
Thursday’s action only delays what many see as an inevitable vote in the coming months on whether to impeach Biden. Boebert has threatened to file a “privileged resolution every day for the rest of my time here in Congress” unless the committees move rapidly to take up impeachment.
McCarthy and other Republicans had argued that a quick impeachment vote would be “premature” if it took place before Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, wrap up their sprawling investigations into Biden, his family and his administration.
The Constitution states that a president can be impeached and removed from office for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Boebert’s impeachment resolution says Biden should be impeached over what she called his failure to secure the southern border with Mexico — which Boebert argues have led to violent crime and the fentanyl crisis.
Speaking to reporters after Thursday's vote, Boebert argued that her actions this week forced her party to launch an impeachment investigation.
"Nothing happens without force. And sometimes you have to shake things up to actually effect change. Washington, D.C., is broken. I came here to fix it," Boebert said on the steps of the Capitol. "And my actions to call up my privileged resolution made way to begin an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden."
She said she hopes that the committees can complete their probes and that articles of impeachment could be brought to the floor "this year."
McCarthy said he didn't give Boebert a timeline because he doesn't determine how quickly committees do their work. And he said that if GOP lawmakers decide to unilaterally force impeachment votes without the support of colleagues, "they probably won't go anywhere."
"Because I think we work as a team, not as individuals," he said.
Top Democrats argued that House Republicans’ actions this week demonstrated the GOP is beholden to “MAGA extremism” and Donald Trump. On Wednesday, Republicans voted to censure Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., one of Trump’s fiercest critics, for his role in investigations into the former president.
“House Republicans are focused on their extremism and their conspiracy theories and bending the knee to Donald Trump,” Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., told reporters Thursday.
“House Republicans have no agenda, no vision, no plan to deal with the economy, job creation, health care, gun safety or anything that matters to the American people,” he said, “and that’s what this week once again shows."