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Republicans lay out agenda for oversight, legislation in the House

With the prolonged fight over the post of House speaker consigned to the history books, Republicans in the chamber are planning an ambitious agenda of investigation and legislation covering a range of issues — from the migrant crisis to the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, to Hunter Biden’s overseas business interests, to the origin of the COVID-19 pandmeic.

“If you’re like everybody else we hear: whether you can afford it, whether you feel safe, the challenge of your children getting left behind, or a government that’s run amok, who has a plan to change that course? We do,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who was elected speaker Saturday morning, said in September as he laid out the House GOP’s plans in what he dubbed the “Commitment to America” — a clear echo of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America” from the 1994 midterms.

The opening day of the 118th Congress last Tuesday. Republicans have a narrow majority in the House.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Here’s a look at what Republicans plan to do in the next two years:

Afghanistan

Incoming House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) has already sent letters to the Biden administration and several government agencies ordering them to preserve records and other documents of the August 2021 pullout.

Of particular interest is how the Taliban was able to quickly overrun the country, the planning behind the evacuations from Hamid Karzai International Airport outside Kabul and the failure to ensure all Afghan refugees were relocated before the pullout.

Coronavirus

House panels plan to interview US medical officials, including former White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci, under oath about whether they believe COVID-19 was man-made and whether it leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China during taxpayer-funded “gain of function” experiments.

The investigations will also focus on how trillions of dollars in COVID-19 relief aid was spent and how school closures pushed by government officials and teacher’s unions affected students.

Hunter Biden

Following The Post’s expose in October 2020 about the first son’s overseas business dealings, Republicans have been eager to investigate whether President Biden was involved or benefitted from the relationships. Hunter Biden is already facing federal probes, and Comer, who will head up the House’s examination, has said he believes the entire Biden family was involved, constituting a national security threat.

Big Tech

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the incoming chair of the House Judiciary Committee, has already started the process of holding Google, Apple, Meta, Twitter and other mammoth tech companies on notice about whether they colluded with the Biden administration to censor conservative users and whether they suppressed information — including about Hunter Biden and the coronavirus — from their sites.

“We have a duty to get into these agencies and look at how they have been weaponized to go against the very people they are supposed to represent, how they have infringed on First Amendment liberties of the American people. And we’re going to do that,” the Ohio Republican said on “Fox News Sunday” over the weekend.

The FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago

Republicans plan to investigate the FBI’s rationale for raiding former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate in August 2022 in search of classified documents he kept there after leaving the White House.

Jan. 6, 2021

McCarthy said House Republicans want to look into the work of the House select committee examining the 76-year-old Trump’s role in the Capitol riot and scrutinize the facts behind the panel’s conclusions. Republicans will also delve into why security was so lax when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.

IRS agents

McCarthy also said the first legislation House Republicans will pursue is rolling back the hiring of 87,000 IRS agents, part of $80 billion in new funding contained in the so-called Inflation Reduction Act passed last year.

Republicans have said that the additional agents will target low- and middle-class Americans rather than wealthy individuals and corporations.

Federal spending

Republicans will look at slicing the budgets of several federal agencies to reduce the country’s $32 trillion debt, including putting the Defense Department on the chopping block. 

“We got a $32 trillion debt. Everything has to be on the table. We’re on pace to spend $500 billion, $600 billion in debt payments in just to deal with interest payments on servicing that debt,” Jordan said Sunday. “Everything has to be on the table.

 “And frankly. we better look at the money we send to Ukraine as well and say, ‘How can we best spend the money to protect America?’ I think that’s what the people elected us to do. That’s what we’re going to do.”  

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