The Republican-led House is on track to approve a formal impeachment inquiry into President Biden on Wednesday, pushing forward with a yearlong G.O.P. investigation that has failed to produce evidence of anything approaching high crimes or misdemeanors.
Republicans say the vote, which is expected in the evening, is needed to give them full authority to carry out their investigations amid anticipated legal challenges from the White House. Democrats have denounced the inquiry as a fishing expedition and a political stunt.
G.O.P. leaders refrained for months from calling a vote to open an impeachment inquiry, given the reservations of mainstream Republicans, many of them from politically competitive districts, about moving forward without proof that Mr. Biden did anything wrong. But the political ground has shifted considerably, and most of them are now willing to do so, emphasizing that they are not yet ready to charge the president.
“Voting in favor of an impeachment inquiry does not equal impeachment,” Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the No. 3 House Republican, said at a news conference on Tuesday. “We will continue to follow the facts wherever they lead, and if they uncover evidence of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors, then and only then will the next steps towards impeachment proceedings be considered.”
Since winning the majority, House Republicans have been investigating myriad aspects of Mr. Biden’s family and administration, hunting for evidence that could be used to prove he is corrupt and should be impeached. Former President Donald J. Trump, still seething over being impeached twice, has urged on their investigation at every step.
The Republican inquiry has focused heavily on the president’s son, Hunter Biden, who is under indictment on federal tax and gun charges, and the work he did for companies and partners in Ukraine, China and other countries. They are also examining whether the Biden administration interfered with the Justice Department investigation of Hunter Biden and whether President Biden mishandled classified documents when he was vice president or as a senator.
Using their subpoena power, Republicans have obtained more than 36,000 pages of bank records; 2,000 pages of suspicious activity reports from the Treasury Department; and dozens of hours of testimony from two of Hunter Biden’s business partners, a senior official from the National Archives and Records Administration, seven federal agents and three U.S. attorneys.
“Republicans’ yearlong fishing expedition has uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden,” said Representative Dan Goldman, Democrat of New York.
The impeachment inquiry resolution does not accuse Mr. Biden of any wrongdoing. It authorizes three Republican-led panels to continue their investigations and petition a court for grand jury materials; authorizes subpoenas and retroactively approves a slew that have already been issued; and allows for the hiring of outside counsel to help with the inquiry.
Speaker Mike Johnson, who has accused Mr. Biden of corruption, said lawmakers are particularly focused on investigating four areas: the millions of dollars Hunter Biden and James Biden, the president’s brother, received from overseas business deals; false or misleading statements elder Mr. Biden made about his son’s work; incidents in which the elder Mr. Biden met with or spoke with his son’s business partners; and about $240,000 the elder Mr. Biden received from his family members as reimbursement for loans.
Republicans have labored, so far without success, to prove that President Biden was enriched by his son’s business dealings. Many of the documents they have produced thus far have, in fact, demonstrated the opposite: that Mr. Biden lent money to his son and brother when they were in need, and they later paid him back.
The House Oversight Committee released documents that showed that one of Hunter Biden’s businesses, Owasco PC, made three payments of $1,380 to Joseph R. Biden Jr. in 2018 when he was not in office. Republicans said the payments were evidence of corruption. Other documents indicate the money was to pay back his father for helping to cover the cost of a Ford truck.
Republicans have scheduled a Wednesday morning deposition with Hunter Biden, who has resisted testifying behind closed doors because he said he fears Republicans will selectively leak portions of his testimony. Instead, Hunter Biden has insisted on testifying publicly.
But Republicans have rejected that offer and are threatening to hold him in contempt of Congress if he does not comply with their demands.
In a briefing with reporters, Representative Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, also laid out his plan to haul in nine more witnesses for questioning within two months.
He said Republicans were investigating whether Mr. Biden took a bribe, abused his power, engaged in other forms of misconduct or obstructed their investigation. Mr. Jordan suggested that false statements the president made about his son’s business interests — such as his claim that Hunter Biden had not received any money from China — could constitute obstruction.
“We’ll look at all the facts and make a decision,” Mr. Jordan said. “Was it obstruction when Joe Biden said all the things he has said that turned out not to be accurate?”