“MAGA House leaders are holding baseless impeachment hearings against President Biden to deflect attention from the ongoing major legal efforts to hold Trump and his cronies accountable.”
A government shutdown with potentially disastrous implications for millions of federal aid recipients and the overall U.S. economy is just days away, but House Republicans have made clear that their focus is not entirely on reaching a deal to prevent such an outcome.
On Monday, the GOP-controlled House Oversight Committee announced the names of the witnesses who will testify Thursday at a hearing titled, “The Basis for an Impeachment Inquiry of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.”
The announcement was seen as confirmation that Republicans are bent on moving ahead with what critics and the White House have described as a sham impeachment inquiry even as the government barrels toward a harmful shutdown, one made increasingly likely by far-right GOP lawmakers’ push for steep federal spending cuts and other extreme demands.
The impeachment probe will be spearheaded by Reps. James Comer (R-Ky.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who respectively chair the House Oversight and Judiciary committees.
The first hearing is scheduled to take place just two days before the deadline to pass a government funding measure. Republicans have signaled that they won’t pause their impeachment probe if the government shuts down.
“The GOP-led House is a trainwreck,” Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, said in a statement Monday. “Instead of focusing on resolving the budget to avoid a catastrophic government shutdown, MAGA House leaders are holding baseless impeachment hearings against President Biden to deflect attention from the ongoing major legal efforts to hold Trump and his cronies accountable for their criminal efforts to subvert the 2020 election and stop the peaceful transfer of power.”
“We expect the hearings to be a rehash of the lack of evidence found connecting Hunter Biden to the president,” said Gilbert. “And no matter what theatrics the MAGA circus presents during the ‘impeachment hearings,’ the truth is, there is no avoiding the real story—the multiple upcoming trials of those indicted in the attacks on our democracy.”
The federal government will shut down on October 1 unless the House and Senate approve a funding measure by Saturday.
The Washington Postreported late Monday that the Senate is expected this week to “begin moving ahead with its own short-term solution, known as a continuing resolution, or CR, by advancing a shell bill that can eventually house an expected bipartisan deal.”
“That bill, however, is probably dead on arrival in the House, unless Democrats and moderate Republicans tack it onto a vehicle that wouldn’t need leadership’s explicit approval for a floor vote,” the Post added. “But even that course of action could cause McCarthy significant headaches, underscoring the complexity of the debate over policy and procedure that has upended the House Republican Conference for several weeks.”
Twice last week, a small faction of far-right House Republicans tanked procedural votes on a military spending measure, embarrassing defeats for Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who sent members home for a long weekend after the second failed vote Thursday.
House lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, but there’s little public indication that Republicans are anywhere close to a deal that would keep the government open as hardliners continue to demand massive cuts to education, nutrition assistance, and other nonmilitary spending.
A recent analysis by the Center for American Progress noted that House Republicans are pushing for an 80% cut to Title I education grants that help fund elementary and secondary schools in low-income neighborhoods as well as sharp reductions in spending on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).”
According toPolitico, “House GOP leaders on Tuesday will try to move forward on four spending bills jam-packed with conservative wins that would do nothing to avert a shutdown that looms Saturday at midnight.”
“Meanwhile, McCarthy is pushing forward with a Republican-only short-term funding bill, which he could put on the floor later this week,” Politico reported. “The Californian has pitched a bill that would extend reduced government funding for a month, combined with a GOP border proposal and a debt commission.”
Progressives have warned that a “debt commission” is a ploy to fast-track cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
“If they get their way, women and children who count on this food assistance could soon start being turned away at grocery store counters.”
The Biden White House estimated in an analysis released Monday that a government shutdown could put “vital nutrition assistance at risk for nearly 7 million women and children who rely on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)—a program that serves nearly half of babies born in this country.”
“During an Extreme Republican Shutdown, women and children who count on WIC would soon start being turned away at grocery store counters, with a federal contingency fund drying up after just a few days and many states left with limited WIC funds to operate the program,” the White House noted. “And the reason food assistance for these families is at risk is extreme House Republicans’ continued efforts to slash funding for vital programs, including WIC, rather than work in a bipartisan manner to keep the government open and address emergency needs for the American people.”
Ian Sams, White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations, toldThe Hill on Monday that “instead of working to avoid the pain they and their extreme House Republican colleagues could inflict on Kentuckians and Ohioans with their shutdown plan, Comer and Jordan are posing for the cameras to attack President Biden with debunked smears—it’s D.C. politics at its worst.”
“While Comer and Jordan are focused on baseless political stunts to get themselves attention on Fox News, 300,000 people at risk in Kentucky and Ohio—including vulnerable infants—could lose access to the food assistance they need because of extreme House Republicans’ shutdown plan,” said Sams. “If they get their way, women and children who count on this food assistance could soon start being turned away at grocery store counters.”
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