GOP Lawmakers Say Republicans Will Use Power Of Purse To Hold Biden Admin Accountable


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Republican lawmakers have been plotting ways to force what is expected to be a hostile Biden administration accountable if the party retakes one or both chambers of Congress in November.

And one tactic that appears to have risen to the top involves fiscal incentives — or disincentives, depending upon how you look at it.

On Sunday, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) appeared on FOX Business chided President Joe Biden for a “massive abuse of power” and said the party will use the power of the purse to get answers to why the Justice Department sent the FBI to former President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach estate last month, among other issues.

“For something of this magnitude, something unprecedented, you would expect the FBI and the DOJ to go to great lengths to ensure they are conducting themselves with the highest level of professionalism, but they never notified our committee — which you would expect them to do if, indeed, there was a danger posed by the classified material that was in Donald Trump’s possession,” he told guest host and former U.S. representative Sean Duffy.

“It comes amidst the backdrop of recent failures on behalf of FBI and DOJ leadership that really get to the heart of their credibility and the trust that Americans have in those is institutions,” Gallagher added.


The Wisconsin Republican also noted that the GOP should get to the bottom of the so-called ‘Russiagate’ investigation into Trump during his 2016 campaign and beyond.

“And as of yet, no one’s been held accountable, Sean. No one has been held accountable for that massive abuse of power,” he added.

Gallagher then explained a fiscal tactic Republicans could use to force Biden administration officials to testify at GOP-led oversight hearings.

“We’ve had extensive discussions about using a practice called fencing, which is basically you kind of draw appropriations or authorization fence around various pots of money in order to compel, whether it’s the FBI or the CIA or the NSA, to give you information that you are demanding. It’s a shame that you actually have to do that, but that is what’s necessary,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) discussed another economic method the party could use to compel Biden administration officials to respond to what is expected to be a flurry of subpoenas for testimony: Defunding key bureaucrats, Just the News reported on Friday.

“I think that they don’t have the right to turn down that subpoena,” Biggs told Just the News. “It seems to me that we’re going to be able to hold you in contempt. Our problem, of course, is the contempt law, the way it’s written, we end up having to go to, of all places, [Attorney General] Merrick Garland. That means getting the Department of Justice, trying to get him to help us enforce that subpoena.”

He added: “We’re probably going to have to look very carefully at how you change that law. Because you can’t go to the enforcer who is not willing to participate.”


Specifically, Biggs said he favors adopting the Holman rule, a 150-year-old procedure that could be used to punish noncompliant officials. Just the News explains:

The Holman Rule was created in 1876 and named after an Indiana congressman who conceived of letting any member of Congress move to amend an appropriations bill to single out a government employee or cut a specific program. The measure would have to be approved by a majority of lawmakers in the House and Senate.

The arcane rule had fallen out of sight for decades, but in 2017 House Republicans revived it to allow any federal bureaucrat’s salary to be cut to $1 in an effort to force spending cuts on agencies or programs unwilling to reduce spending.

Biggs believes the rule could be further adapted to reduce the pay of any government witness who refuses to comply with a congressional subpoena seeking evidence or testimony.

“I anticipate further obstruction on the part of Merrick Garland,” he said. “But we may have to find a way, to devise a way to go around Merrick Garland to get these people to come in. And that’s why I think [what] we need to do, first and foremost, is reinstate the Holman rule, so that we get to hold people like Merrick Garland responsible.

“And that Holman rule allows the Congress to basically defund an individual bureaucrat, who is willfully … violating the subpoena power and oversight power of the United States Congress,” he told the outlet.

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