Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told The Independent that Mr McCarthy’s announcement showed how little evidence Republicans have.
“I mean, I think he's making a joke of himself,” the number two Democrat on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee said. “What I find most amusing is that he has opened an impeachment inquiry, and it seems as though they are opening an inquiry into themselves as to why they're even trying to impeach President Biden.”
Mr McCarthy announced that the House would begin an impeachment inquiry with Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) leading the charge, alongside Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO).
Ms Ocasio-Cortez said that the role of the Oversight Committee included accountability and oversight of waste of government resources.
“That includes these kind of wild goose chases where the Republican Party is investing millions of dollars in government funds in trying to go after an investigation of a president that has no grounds,” she said.
Rep Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, said that the impeachment inquiry showed that his role on the committee would be to rebut falsehoods.
“We launched our time in this Congress saying that we would be the Truth Squad, we would stand up in defence of the facts,” Mr Raskin, who led the second impeachment of former president Donald Trump, told The Independent. “We're also standing up in defence of the Constitution. The Constitution specifies that people are impeached for treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. There's evidence of none of those against Joe Biden.”
Mr Raskin said the impeachment inquiry showed that Mr McCarthy is being held captive by the most extreme voices in the House Republican Conference.
“I mean, any parent knows you can't give in to kids who are having a temper tantrum,” he said. The impeachment inquiry comes as Congress has only 18 days to pass a continuing resolution to prevent the government from shutting down. Mr Raskin said that Mr McCarthy had conceded to the far right’s demands.
“So today, they're demanding impeachment tomorrow, they're demanding a shutdown of the government,” he said. “I think McCarthy thought that he could choose one or the other, which is just an unethical choice.”
Despite Mr McCarthy’s announcement, Rep Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a supporter of impeaching Mr Biden, criticised Mr McCarthy’s announcement.
“This is a baby step following weeks of pressure from house conservatives to do more,” Mr Gaetz said on the House floor.
Mr Raskin said this shows the no-win situation for the speaker.
“He never should have played the game with them, but it's probably not going to work because as we saw with Matt Gaetz today, they're already saying they want to both an impeachment inquiry and a shutdown of the government,” he said. “They are a rule or ruin faction. And you can't cater to that.”
Rep Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) said that the inquiry shows how the GOP failed to find wrongdoing by Mr Biden.
“I think we've been leading up to that for the last couple of weeks now,” he told The Independent. “But I also think it admits that the first nine months of hearings that they've been having, and the millions of taxpayer dollars that they spent having these hearings were didn't work, because if it worked, they would just call for an impeachment vote.”