Rep. Jim Banks vowed Sunday that Republicans would probe the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal and scandal-scarred first son Hunter Biden if they win control of the House — after the GOP suffered a Senate setback Saturday.
“Oversight is a primary function of the Congress. And for the last few years, there has been no oversight of the Biden agenda and the Biden administration,” Banks (R-Ind.) told host Shannon Bream on “Fox News Sunday.”
“So that has to be a focal point of every single committee in the Congress, especially in the house under Republican control.”
While the Democrats held onto power in the Senate with Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Mastos’ win in Nevada, control of the House is still up in the air.
Banks, a veteran of Afghanistan, said “no one has ever been held accountable” for the haphazard removal of US troops from the war-torn country last August.
“There’s never been an investigation into the pullout of Afghanistan that cost the lives of 13 of our heroes,” said Banks, who is among a number of Republicans jockeying for House majority whip if they control the chamber.
“That means that the Congress did not do their job in providing that type of oversight. Oversight of the origins of COVID, the lockdowns, the closure of schools at the outcome of that. We’ve never had congressional oversight into any of those actions by the Biden administration,” he said.
But Bream pointed out the lackluster performance of Republicans in last Tuesday’s midterm elections, when expectations had them making huge gains in Congress.
She asked Banks about Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), in a Wall Street Journal column, warning GOP members of the House that they risk turning off voters in 2024 if they spend more time investigating than legislating.
“I mean, Republicans, a number of them, have been clear they’re interested in things like investigating Hunter Biden, the FBI, COVID, the withdrawal of Afghanistan. Where do you see your agenda going?” she asked the congressman.
“It’s just a fact of the responsibility of the Congress to provide oversight. I believe that the American people, not just those on the right, they expect Congress to step up to the plate and provide that type of accountability. It is desperately needed, especially, again, if 80% of American people are saying America is on the wrong track, they expect the Congress to hold the administration accountable for that and their actions,” Banks replied.
“And that’s what we’re going to do. Even in a slim Republican majority, we will still have the gavels of each of the committees and oversight is a primary function,” he said.
Banks also said he supports House Republican leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy becoming speaker if the GOP eventually wins control of the chamber.
McCarthy’s leadership has come under intense criticism in light of the Republicans disappointing showing in the elections, and some members of the influential House Freedom Caucus have been reluctant to get into McCarthy’s corner.
“Leader McCarthy raised the most money that any leader’s ever raised in the history of our party before, $500 million. He did his part to put us in a position to win the majority, and we’re going to do that – again a disappointing slim majority,” Banks said.
“But if we do what we say we’re going to do and if we are serious and we push the bold agenda that our conference is unified around, I believe we’ll grow this majority in the 2024 election,” he continued.