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The Power of Subpoena: What a GOP Congress Should Do to Hold Biden Administration Accountable

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

If the polls are accurate and Republicans recapture control of the House, or the Senate, or both, they will soon be in a position to use their majorities to launch investigations and hold hearings. And when it comes to congressional hearings and investigations, let’s just say the Biden administration is a target-rich environment. 


Article I of the Constitution grants the Congress significant powers – the powers to declare war, to raise armies and navies, to lay and collect taxes, and to borrow money, for example. Yet it’s an implied power, not specifically included in the Constitution, that can be Congress’ most important power – the power of oversight. 

The Supreme Court spoke on the matter in the case of McGrain v. Daugherty. In affirming Congress’ oversight powers, the court declared that “the power of inquiry – with process to enforce it – is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function.” 

Of course, there are different kinds of congressional investigations. Some members of Congress use hearings as nothing more than an opportunity to grab a quick photo or deliver a well-crafted line suitable for an Instagram or Twitter post, instead of using the hearings as an opportunity to conduct proper oversight on behalf of the people whose money is being spent. 

A new Republican majority should launch serious inquiries into the conduct and the failures of the Biden administration.

For example, Republicans should investigate the Biden administration’s assault on free speech. Which Biden administration officials pushed Twitter to banish users who challenged Biden administration orthodoxy on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and whether or not the federal government should mandate that its citizens take the vaccine? At whose direction did those officials have those conversations with Twitter – the head of the CDC, or the secretary of Health and Human Services, or the president himself? What did Biden administration officials offer – or threaten – to induce Twitter to ban targeted users from its platform? 


Republicans should learn how Big Labor got into the business of closing schools. They could haul in Biden administration officials and ask them to explain, under oath, what exactly was going on in the spring of 2021: According to senior Republicans on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, when they investigated the relationship between the CDC and the American Federation of Teachers and the AFT’s early 2021 unprecedented rewriting of the CDC’s guidance on school reopening, “a Biden administration lawyer repeatedly prevented a career CDC doctor from answering questions about whether and why the CDC allowed AFT to write portions of the [CDC’s] Operational Strategy.” Who directed that lawyer to prevent that career CDC doctor from answering? Who made the decision to obstruct a congressional investigation? Whose idea was it to invite the AFT to edit a CDC draft? Which Biden administration officials outside the CDC knew that the AFT was rewriting a CDC draft? Did anyone at the White House know? 

These are just examples of the kind of investigations Republicans should pursue. Many subjects demand further inquiry, including: 

Hunter Biden, and the connection between his foreign business dealings, his father, and U.S. national security; Hunter Biden, and how and why has the FBI investigation into him, his father, and his business dealings been sidetracked by a small number of corrupt FBI agents; what in the world is going on at the southern border to lead to the greatest-ever influx of illegal immigrants over the last year; how did U.S. taxpayers end up funding drag shows in Ecuador; the long term consequences of the FDA’s approval of drugs that halt puberty in children; how does the Biden Administration’s determination to use sexual and racial discrimination in federal education grant-making square with the concept of equality under the law; Afghanistan, and how a 20-year U.S. commitment to fighting the War on Terror overseas rather than at home could suffer such a calamitous end; America’s public schools, and how is it that they have spent less than 15 percent of the $122 billion in COVID-19 relief funding that was appropriated for them on an emergency basis in last year’s American Rescue Plan; given Iran’s ongoing and increasing support for Russia during Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine, why is the Biden Administration continuing to engage Iran in negotiations regarding a return to the failed 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and were U.S. funds used to pay for the Iranian drones Russia is now using to kill innocent Ukrainian civilians; Saudi Arabia, and why has a long-standing U.S. ally chosen to harm American citizens by making common cause with Russia in cutting oil production; and Communist China, and its abusive treatment of U.S. diplomats suffering under Beijing’s zero-COVID policy.  


That’s just for starters. 

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