Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the speaker of the House, announced Tuesday that he was opening an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. Rep. Marc Molinaro, who represents Greater Binghamton in Congress, then issued a statement in support.

The looming impeachment fight comes on the cusp of a government shutdown, as the most conservative members of McCarthy’s conference threaten to end his speakership. In January, McCarthy won the speakership election after 15 ballots, following a series of concessions to Republican holdouts. The impeachment inquiry, not approved by a vote of the entire House of Representatives, will task the House Committee on Ways and Means, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and the House Committee on the Judiciary to spearhead the investigation into Biden and his family.

Molinaro, who won his seat in a close election last year, is a Democratic target in 2024’s general election and is among several upstate Republicans to support McCarthy’s inquiry. In a statement, he explained his reasoning behind the support.

“Oversight of the Executive Branch is one of Congress’s most fundamental duties,” the statement said. “I worry about what appears to be criminal activity benefiting the Biden family and undermining our national interests. That warrants an inquiry.”

In response, New York’s Working Families Party said that they were “disappointed” in Molinaro’s support for impeachment.

“Molinaro continues to line up behind McCarthy and far-right Republicans every chance he gets,” the statement said. “As a member of the Agriculture Committee, Molinaro should be focused on delivering a Farm Bill that protects [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] benefits, but he’s instead preoccupied with cozying up to the speaker by lending credibility to his latest political stunt.”

House Republicans have launched several investigations into the president and his family since they won the majority last November. The House Committee on Oversight, led by Rep. James Comer, has been examining Biden’s “domestic and international business dealings” to determine any impropriety, according to the Committee’s website.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, ‘92 and the House Democratic leader, called McCarthy’s inquiry “a kangaroo court, fishing expedition and conspiracy theater rolled into one.” Jeffries was one of the impeachment managers — legislators appointed to serve as prosecutors in the Senate trial of an impeached president — in former President Trump’s first impeachment in early 2020.

McCarthy has drawn criticism for the concessions he made to achieve the speakership. These include empowering a single member to force a vote to remove him from his position, awarding high-profile committee seats to his most right-wing members and creating a new subcommittee tasked with investigating the “weaponization of the federal government.”

“Really, it isn’t worth it to be speaker to abdicate that much jurisdiction over the House,” said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat who won the speakership twice.

The House faces a looming shutdown crisis amid a fractured Republican majority. McCarthy’s most conservative members have advocated for concessions by leveraging their support for any government funding bill, including impeachment, deep spending cuts and increased security at the southern border. If legislation fails to pass by Sept. 30, the government will shut down.

Chance Fiorisi, a junior majoring in political science, said that Molinaro’s focus should be on his district, which stretches across regions of the Southern Tier, the Catskills, the Finger Lakes and the Hudson Valley.

“Supporting impeachment inquiries at a time when families in the district are struggling to keep food on the table is the kind of partisanship nobody wants to see,” Fiorisi wrote. “I hope the representative changes his priorities soon.”

Logan Blakeslee, the secretary of Binghamton University’s College Republicans and a senior double-majoring in history and political science, described transparency as “one of the essential features of government.”

“[Molinaro] is, at present, merely supporting an inquiry into [the president’s] dealings,” Blakeslee wrote. “It is likely that nothing major will be found, but the American people ought to be reassured and their doubts removed through an investigation. It is far from guaranteed that the next step in this process is impeachment.”