Republicans have a strategy for running the House of Representatives in the event they gain at least six seats and win control on November 8. Legislating is a low priority for GOP legislators. In their campaigns and speeches around the country, they’re making it clear that their real agenda is the “3-I’s” of revenge for wrongs real and imagined: Ignore, Investigate and Impeach.
First off, they will abolish the Special Committee investigating the violent January 6 insurrection, which the Republican National Committee dismissed as merely “legitimate political discourse.” They’ll demand dropping charges of the accused and convicted criminals alike and bestowing on them the title of “patriots.”
Look for more tributes like the one paid by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who awarded a flag flown over the Capitol (the scene of her crime) to one of the “unjustly prosecuted (his words)” insurrectionists upon release from federal prison.
House Republican zealots will ignore growing bipartisan public opinion across the country and try to further restrict or even abolish and criminalize abortions. But don’t expect anything to improve prenatal care or child support.
“When Republicans are back in charge, we will hold all of them accountable.”Rep. Kevin McCarthy
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who expects to be speaker, tweeted in August, “When Republicans are back in charge, we will hold all of them accountable.”
Every House Republican chair at all levels will immediately announce investigations. Starting with schools – books, curriculum, locker room toilets and athletic competition. In the name of “protecting parental rights,” they will be focusing on the alleged teaching of critical race theory, gender in sports, book bans and criminalizing teachers.
And of course, they will be investigating Democratic colleagues and everyone associated with the Biden administration, but their first target will be the notorious Hunter Biden. Exhibit #1 will be his laptop. His sister Ashley’s stolen diary may come up as well. That should replace the endless but fruitless Benghazi investigations that McCarthy confessed were motivated by a desire to smear Hillary Clinton.
There may also be an effort to unseat the colleague Republicans hate the most, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California), the intelligence committee chairman and a prominent leader of the multiple impeachments of Donald Trump.
This will be a two-fer, not only appeasing Trump but also retribution for Democrats taking away Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Georgia) committee assignments for her incendiary rhetoric, support of violence against Democrats (including executing Nancy Pelosi for treason) and for comparing COVID-19 restrictions to the Holocaust. She is a Trump and MAGA favorite and avowed “Christian nationalist” who is likely to be rewarded with a plum committee assignment, possibly even a chairmanship.
Steve Bannon, the Trump adviser convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the January 6 investigation, on his latest indictment warned committee staffers “preserve your documents, because there’s going to be a real committee, and this has to be backed by Republican grassroots voters.”
Another favorite target will be Dr. Anthony Fauci, the highly respected international expert on infectious diseases who had the audacity to contradict Trump’s lies about the pandemic. His other offenses include calling for closing schools and businesses during the height of the pandemic, requiring masks to be worn, promoting vaccinations, refusing to blame it all on China, and being honest with the American people.
One of the first moves will be to impeach President Joe Biden, and it will take a simple majority in the House (but two-thirds in the Senate, where it will die). Six weeks after his inauguration, MTG introduced her first impeachment resolution with Reps. Mary Miller (R-Illinois) and Paul Gosar (R-Arizona), whose own family has denounced him as an extremist and an antisemite.
There will be other impeachment resolutions, and all will land in the Judiciary Committee, which would be chaired by the ultra-MAGA Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. The 1998 impeachment of Bill Clinton “was a political disaster for Republicans,” The Washington Post pointed out. The Trump impeachments helped defeat the disgraced former president. Revenge on Biden, however, could backfire and assure his reelection.
Target number two will be Attorney General Merrick Garland for the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago that turned up a cache of purloined classified documents, possibly including the nuclear secrets of a close American ally (rumored to be Israel, whose defense secrets Trump leaked to the Russians on at least one occasion).
Also on the GOP hit list are Vice President Kamela Harris, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. For starters.
Punchbowl News suggested multiple impeachments and attacks won’t remove anyone but instead could help reelect Biden by portraying him as the victim of an extremist right-wing cabal.
What little the Republican House majority is likely to do in the way of legislating will be veto bait. Like making guns even more accessible. The 7,914th attempt to repeal Obamacare. Tearing down the wall of separation between religion and state, and building Trump’s porous border wall. There will be bills to cut funding for “Biden’s war” in Ukraine, block tax hikes for the wealthiest, defund the FBI and IRS and shut down the Environmental Protection Agency.
Another big topic being pushed by Republicans in this campaign season is to eviscerate Social Security, either by privatizing it or requiring it be renewed annually. Democrats are silently praying they’ll try, knowing it will help them as it did when George W. Bush tried it in 2005.
Republicans face a dilemma within their own party. Will they want to pursue a bipartisan course that will produce credible results they can point to as proof they can govern, or do they want to wage Trump’s wars of grievances and oppose everything Biden wants so they can declare him a failed president?
Here’s a hint: McCarthy rebuffed bipartisanship when Biden offered it over the past two years, and with a GOP caucus likely to be even more extreme next year, look for more confrontation than cooperation across the aisle. That means the “3-I” agenda will be front and center.
The writer is a Washington-based journalist, consultant, lobbyist and former AIPAC legislative director.