(CNN)House Democrats have quietly moved to restrict the GOP’s ability to use its limited power in the minority to press for investigations, an effort that has Republicans crying foul as they seek to pressure their foes over the Biden administration’s handling of Afghanistan.
According to publicly available documents reviewed by CNN, Democrats in March began slipping language into House rules that essentially blocks Republicans from using a “resolution of inquiry.” That tool allows a lawmaker to formally request information from the executive branch. Once the inquiry is introduced, the relevant committee is required to act within 14 days or else it can be brought up as a privileged resolution on the House floor.
While a resolution of inquiry has less teeth than a subpoena — and the party in power would have the numbers to prevent it from advancing — it’s one of the few investigative tools that the minority has at its disposal. At the very least, it would enable the minority party to force members of the majority to take a public stance and vote on certain issues in committee.
House Democrats used multiple resolutions of inquiry when they were in the minority during then-President Donald Trump’s first two years in office, using them on everything from Trump’s taxes to Russia, though the requests were rejected by the GOP-led committees at the time.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned that Democrats’ moves could “very much” come back to haunt them if they lose the majority.
“It’s one more example of one-party control, trying to control your information, trying to intimidate you, from fining to proxy voting, to who can be on committee,” McCarthy told CNN on Wednesday. “All the actions that are taking place have never been done before in Congress.”
The California Republican did not rule out keeping some of these restrictions in place, should the GOP win back the House in 2022.
“I’m not going to promise one thing,” McCarthy said, “but I’m going to look at everything.”
Democrats say they suspended the use of such resolutions because Republicans began
Democrats quietly limit House GOP effort to press for probes into Biden administration
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