GOP’s new committee chairs prepare blitz of investigations – WPXI

WASHINGTON – (AP) – House Republicans are promising aggressive oversight of the Biden administration once they take control next year, with a particular focus on Presidential son Hunter Biden’s business dealings with illegal immigration on the U.S.-Mexico border and the origins of COVID-19.

Republicans won’t have enough votes to advance key legislative priorities without Democratic buy-in, but their oversight of government agencies could put Democrats on the defensive and dampen support for the Biden administration ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Some of the lawmakers expected to lead these investigations once House Republicans chose their new committee chairs:

THE GREAT ROLE OF JUSTICE

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is expected to serve as the next chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Jordan helped found and head the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus and voted against counting the Pennsylvania electoral vote on January 6, 2021. President Donald Trump thought so highly of Jordan that he presented the congressman with the country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The Judiciary Committee oversees the Ministries of Justice and Homeland Security and handles issues such as crime, immigration and the protection of civil liberties. It’s typically one of the most partisan committees on Capitol Hill, but even there, Jordan’s combative style stands out. The committee would be where all efforts would begin to impeach a member of the Biden administration, as some Republicans have suggested for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Jordan’s inquiries to the government over the past few months make it clear that the committee will investigate the FBI’s execution of a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. He has also advocated a comprehensive look at the Biden administration’s immigration policies and the origins of COVID-19.

“All of these things need to be investigated just so you know the truth,” Jordan told a conference on conservative activists last summer. “Also, that’s going to screw up the 2024 race when I hope and think President Trump will run again and we have to make sure he wins.”

THE LONG LIST OF SUPERVISION

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., is expected to serve as the next chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and has made it clear that investigating President Joe Biden’s son Hunter will be one of his top priorities. Republicans say their investigation into Hunter Biden’s dealings is “to determine whether these activities threaten U.S. national security and President Biden’s ability to lead impartially.”

Comer also laid the groundwork for studying the situation at the US-Mexico border. He sent a letter to Mayorkas asking for a series of documents and communications on the administration’s border policy. “We cannot endure another year of the Biden administration’s failed border policy,” the letter said.

But that’s only part of the committee’s focus.

“We’re going to be looking at between 40 and 50 different things,” Comer said Sunday on NBC’s Meet The Press. “We have the capacity. We will have 25 members on the committee and we will have almost 70 staff. So we have the opportunity to examine a lot of things.”

Federal government spending in response to COVID-19 is also under scrutiny.

“We believe hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars have been squandered over the past three years, so two governments on behalf of COVID.

“We want to hold hearings on this. We want to try to determine what happened to the fraudulent unemployment insurance funds, the fraudulent PPP loan funds, and some of that money being spent for state and local governments in the COVID stimulus money,” Comer said.

AFGHANISTAN IN FOCUS

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, is expected to become the next chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which will investigate the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. McCaul reiterated a request for various documents in mid-October, directing the State Department to retain all records related to the chaotic withdrawal, which included the loss of 13 US soldiers killed during a suicide bombing.

“The way it was done was such a disaster and such a disgrace to our veterans who served in Afghanistan. They deserve answers to the many questions we have,” McCaul said on ABC’s This Week. He added: “Why wasn’t there an evacuation plan? How could it go so wrong?”

FOCUS ON ENERGY AND TAXES

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., is expected to be the next chair of the Energy and Trade Committee, which has the broadest jurisdiction of any appropriation committee in Congress, from health care to environmental protection to national energy policy. Republicans on the committee have already spent months examining the origins of COVID-19 and are expected to continue that work in the next congress.

MPs Jason Smith, R-Mo., Adrian Smith, R-Neb., and Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., have expressed interest in serving as the next Chair of the Tax Writing House’s Ways & Means Committee, which it already has has been searching for documents related to spending on the nearly $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that Democrats passed early last year. The committee also has oversight of the IRS, a common target of GOP scrutiny and contempt.

OTHER KEY POINTS

Probable heads of other prominent committees:

— Committee on Agriculture: Glenn Thompson, R-Pa.

— Appropriations Committee: Kay Granger, R-Texas.

– Armed Services Committee: Mike Rogers, R-Ala.

— Budget Committee: Lloyd Smucker, R-Pa., Buddy Carter, R-Ga., and Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, have all expressed an interest in the chair.

— Financial Services Committee: Patrick McHenry, RN.C.

– Homeland Security Committee: Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, Mark Green, R-Tenn., and Clay Higgins, R-La., have all expressed interest in the chair.

– Intelligence Committee: Michael Turner, R-Ohio

— Natural Resources Committee: Bruce Westerman, R-Ark.

— Committee on Science, Space and Technology: Frank Lucas, R-Okla.

— Transport and Infrastructure Committee: Sam Graves, R-Mo.

— Veterans Affairs Committee: Mike Bost, R-Ill.

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