WASHINGTON — House Republicans are eyeing a vote Wednesday to formalize the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.
Before the floor vote, the resolution to authorize the inquiry is set to go before the House Rules Committee on Tuesday, even as the GOP has failed to come up with direct evidence of wrongdoing by Biden.
A separate resolution going before the Rules Committee would declare that any subpoenas issued after ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy declared the impeachment inquiry on Sept. 27 — but before this week's vote in the full House — carry the same legal weight as subpoenas issued after the vote.
House Republicans have little room for error. If all members are present and Democrats vote no, they can only afford three defections in their ranks to approve the impeachment inquiry.
The margin for error was cut from four to three votes after the recent expulsion of former Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y.
The impeachment inquiry vote will present a political challenge for many of the 17 Republicans in districts that Biden won. Several of them, along with other center-right GOP lawmakers, have been skeptical about proceeding with an inquiry.
Speaker Mike Johnson, who recognizes that many GOP members don’t believe Biden has committed impeachable offenses, has presented the upcoming vote as an attempt to continue the investigation with more powers.
Many seem convinced by that argument. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., told NBC News last week he believes he is the only Republican planning to vote no.
Democrats immediately pushed back on Monday.
“If House Republicans took the time to look at their local newspaper, they would know that the public isn’t interested in wasting any more time on a sham impeachment," said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesperson Viet Shelton. "The American people want results on the kitchen table issues that matter to their day-to-day lives — not MAGA Republicans’ obsession with Donald Trump’s reckless revenge quest.”
Wednesday’s vote comes the same day that the House Oversight Committee has subpoenaed Hunter Biden to testify behind closed doors in the probe. It is not clear if the president’s son will appear, however. Hunter Biden has offered to come in for an open hearing, but Oversight Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., has been adamant that an initial deposition take place behind closed doors.