GOP rep: McCarthy impeachment talk a ‘shiny object’ to distract from spending

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) criticized House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) recent comments on impeaching President Biden, saying the remarks were a political move meant to distract from budget negotiations.

“What he’s doing is saying there’s a shiny object over there and we’re going to focus on that, we just need to get all these things done so we can focus on the shiny object,” Buck, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said in a CNN interview Wednesday.

McCarthy said this week that House investigations into potential misconduct by Biden have “risen to the level of impeachment inquiry,” echoing calls from conservative wings of the House GOP. 

Buck said he supported investigation into Biden, but said any talk of impeachment right now distracts from the appropriations process and sends the wrong message.

“This is impeachment theater,” Buck said. “I don’t think it’s responsible for us to talk about impeachment. When you start raising the ‘I word,’ it starts sending a message to the public, and it sets expectations.”

McCarthy is under pressure from within his own party on spending limits, as the Freedom Caucus pushes him to go back on a deal he made with President Biden earlier this year which raised the debt ceiling. That deal promised to cap discretionary spending over the next two years, but more conservative Republicans want deeper spending rollbacks.

“We right now are starting the appropriations process and there is no consensus on what the [budget] number should be. Kevin McCarthy promised when he was running for speaker one set of numbers, and then he made an agreement with President Biden for the debt ceiling increase on another set of numbers,” Buck said.

“The party itself is not in agreement, and we’re going to have some real trouble passing some appropriations bills.”

The impeachment discussions have already raised questions among Senate Republicans and have been outright dismissed by Democrats. 

Congress and the White House have until Sept. 30 to hash out a budget and avoid a government shutdown.