GOP One Seat Away From House Control: Bidens, Fauci, FDA Brace For Investigations

While Democrats are assured of extending their control of the U.S. Senate for two more years, on Monday the Republican Party moved within just one seat of flipping control of the House of Representatives -- which has big implications for a variety of investigations. 

It takes 218 seats to control the chamber. With key victories in California, Arizona and New York, Republicans have now secured 217, according to the Associated Press, compared to 205 for the Democrats. There are 13 races still uncalled, and Republicans are currently leading four of them.   

So far, Republicans have posted an 11-seat pickup from the current legislative session, well short of expectations. After hopes of routing the Democrats, Republicans may wind up with the slimmest majority of the 21st century. In 2001, Republicans had a 221-212 edge.  

That slim majority promises to make current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's quest for the House speakership interesting. On Tuesday, the House Republican conference will take a vote to select the party's nominee for the speakership. For that, McCarthy only needs a simple majority. 

California Rep. Kevin McCarthy is likely to ascend from Minority Leader to Speaker
California Rep. Kevin McCarthy is likely to ascend from Minority Leader to Speaker (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/AP via Sacramento Bee

In January, however, the vote goes to the full House of Representatives. Assuming no Democrat votes for McCarthy, that means he'll need nearly every Republican's vote to become speaker. 

So far, one representative has announced his intention to challenge McCarthy. Late on Monday, Arizona's Andy Biggs threw his name in the hat. Appearing on Newsmax, Biggs, a former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said

“We have a new paradigm here, and I think the country wants a different direction from the House of Representatives. And it’s a new world, and, yes, I’m going to be nominated tomorrow to — to the position of Speaker of the House.”

Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs is challenging McCarthy for the speakership
Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs is challenging McCarthy for the speakership (David Wallace/The Republic)

If nothing else, Biggs challenge may help the Freedom Caucus and its 30-some members extract concessions from McCarthy on how the House would be run in the next session. Among their demands: Broader membership in the group that doles out committee assignments, allowing committee members to choose their own chairs, allowing amendments from the floor, and being given five days to review legislation before voting. 

Perhaps the most tantalizing aspect of the Republicans' pending control of the House is the various investigations that are sure to commence as Democrats relinquish chairmanship of every committee. Subjects of those investigations are likely to include

  • Hunter Biden's alleged influence-peddling in China, Ukraine and elsewhere; lying about his drug use when he completed a federal gun-purchase form; alleged tax crimes
  • Joe Biden's knowledge of Hunter's business dealings -- knowledge he's denied having
  • Federal decision-making about everything from mask and vaccine mandates to school closures
  • The origins of the Covid-19 virus, and the extent to which federal funds have been used to pursue dangerous gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other institutions
  • The bungled withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan
  • The politicization of the Department of Justice
  • A deeper look into federal agencies' activities leading up to and on the day of the Jan. 6 riots, which is likely to include scrutiny of the mysterious Ray Epps -- who was captured on multiple videos fomenting the riot but who has somehow evaded criminal charges  

Anticipating a GOP takeover, Republican representatives and their staffs have already been laying the groundwork for those investigations, says Rep. James Comer, who's expected to chair the House Committee on Oversight and Reform:   

With Democrats having set a precedent of referring subpoena-refusers for criminal prosecution, things should be entertaining...

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