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Republican says Biden impeachment inquiry belongs on "back burner"

Republican Representative Ken Buck said Thursday that he believes the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden “should go on the back burner” until the House successfully avoids a government shutdown.

Congress has only two more full days to pass a future spending bill or agree on a short-term continuing resolution (CR), with all eyes on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the lower chamber’s Republican leadership to reach accord before the shutdown deadline of 11:59 p.m. Saturday. As discussions continued Thursday, the House Oversight Committee also held its first impeachment inquiry hearing into the allegations against the president, whom GOP members have accused of benefiting from his son Hunter Biden‘s business dealings with foreign entities.

However, Buck, a Colorado conservative, told CNN several hours after the hearing that he had concerns about his GOP colleagues’ “priorities,” adding, “I think that there is nothing worse than a shutdown.”

“I think this is an embarrassment,” Buck continued while speaking with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “We knew that September 30 was coming for a long time. We should have been talking in July about a continuing resolution. It doesn’t have to be done on the eve of a shutdown.”

When prompted by Cooper if he believed Biden’s impeachment inquiry should halt in the event of a government shutdown, Buck said that he was unsure whether the investigation would be deemed essential.

“I don’t know exactly how they’re going to parse out who is essential and who’s not,” Buck said. “But I do think that it should go on the back burner until we finish with the continuing resolution and start funding the government.”

Buck previously told CNN’s Manu Raju that he believed the impeachment inquiry was a waste of time. While House Republicans have insisted that there is mounting evidence that ties Biden to instances of bribery and misconduct, Thursday’s hearing failed to bring any clear evidence to prove the allegations.

Newsweek reached out to House Oversight Chairman James Comer via email for comment Thursday night.

A short-term CR would allow lawmakers more time to work out the 12 appropriations bills needed to keep the federal government running. The Senate proposed a bipartisan stopgap bill earlier this week, but McCarthy has already dismissed the measure, which includes the $6 billion in aid to Ukraine requested by Biden.

Far-right members of the House have also pressed McCarthy amid shutdown discussions. On Thursday, over two dozen lawmakers of the House Freedom Caucus signed a letter pushing McCarthy for answers on how he intends to advance spending bills through the chamber before relying on a CR to avert the stoppage.

Buck, a fellow member of the conservative caucus, did not sign the letter, and told CNN that he felt it was “really inappropriate to start publicizing things.”

“If we’re going to have meetings in the Republican family, we should do it behind closed doors, number one,” Buck said.

“Number two, I think … when they start adding Ukraine in as one of their demands, that we shouldn’t fund Ukraine anymore, I’m just not in with that,” he continued. “I think we’ve got to make sure that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin does not win this war. And I think we have to make sure that we support Ukraine to the point that we can, and be realistic about it.”

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