After four years of preparing for a possible scandal to topple former President Donald Trump, Democrats have reportedly changed the rules of Congress to prevent Republicans from even calling for inquiries from the Biden administration.
Since March, House Democrats “Slippery tongue” in House rules to essentially deprive Republicans of their ability to use a so-called “Investigation resolution” to formally request information from the executive, CNN reported Wednesday, citing public documents.
An investigative resolution is one of the few tools available to members of the minority party to obtain investigations when the majority also controls the White House. The relevant House committee must act on such a resolution within 14 days, or it may be raised in the Assembly. The majority can still vote against the request, but the resolution requires members to take a public stand on an issue they might prefer to sweep under the rug.
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As CNN pointed out, House Democrats used the same tool on several occasions during Trump’s first two years in office, when Republicans controlled Congress, to lobby on issues ranging from the president’s taxes to various Russian-related conspiracy theories. After winning control of the House in the 2018 midterm election, Democrats twice voted to impeach Trump on charges that went unsuccessful in Senate trials.
With the White House now occupied by Democrat Joe Biden, investigations are out of fashion – even as the new president’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the border crisis has sparked public outrage. Unidentified Democrats have told CNN they have suspended investigative resolutions to prevent Republicans from using procedural votes to disrupt debate and derail the work of congressional committees.
The move is one of many rule changes Democrats have made this year to weaken the rights of minority parties, including weakening a tool called a “Re-engagement motion” that the Republicans had used to force “Difficult votes on sensitive issues,“CNN said.
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U.S. Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told the outlet that Democrats had suspended a centuries-old tool necessary for effective oversight of Congress – “everything to protect President Biden from scrutiny of the multiple disasters caused by his failing leadership.”
Parliamentary Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) Said the violation of minority party rights could amount to “haunt” Democrats if they lose the majority. “This is another example of one-party control, trying to control your information, trying to intimidate you, from fine to proxy, who can be on the committee,” McCarthy told CNN. “All the actions that are taking place have never been done before in Congress.”
McCarthy added that he would not rule out maintaining such restrictions on minority party rights if Republicans regain control of the House in 2022.
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