Pelosi Rushing Impeachment Vote to Keep Wavering Democrats in Line Before Christmas Recess

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) listens as House investigative committee chairs announce the next steps in the House impeachment inquiry at the U.S. Capitol December 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. The impeachment charges include abuse of power and obstruction claims and “clear and …
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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is rushing the impeachment vote to the floor of the House before the Christmas recess to keep wavering Democrats in key battleground districts away from their constituents, the majority of whom are potentially uncomfortable with impeaching the president.

“House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump over his contacts with Ukraine: Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress,” Breitbart News Network reported.

The House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on these articles this week, setting up an up or down floor vote on both articles of impeachment in the full House before next Friday, December 20, the Washington Examiner reported

The Democrats will need to secure 216 “yes votes” to reach the majority they need to impeach the president and send the matter to the Senate for a trial, since there are currently 431 members of the House of Representatives, with four vacancies that will not be filled for several months.

The current party breakdown is 233 Democrats, 197 Republicans and one Independent. Thirty-one Democrats represent districts that Donald Trump won in 2016. They are all considered politically vulnerable in 2020 if they vote “yes” on the articles of impeachment.

All 197 Republicans are expected to vote “no” if, as is expected, the full House votes on the question of impeachment before the Christmas recess.

At present, only two Democrats have expressed that they are leaning against a vote to impeach the president: Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ). Both are among the 31 Democrats who represent districts President Trump won in 2016.

On Monday, Peterson told CNN’s Manu Raju, “I’m certainly leaning that way….I just think it will be too divisive for the country – it doesn’t accomplish anything.”

On Tuesday, Politico reported:

A small group of vulnerable House Democrats is floating the longshot idea of censuring President Donald Trump instead of impeaching him, according to multiple lawmakers familiar with the conversations.

Those Democrats, all representing districts that Trump won in 2016, huddled on Monday afternoon in an 11th-hour bid to weigh additional — though unlikely — options to punish the president for his role in the Ukraine scandal as the House speeds toward an impeachment vote next week.

The group of about 10 Trump-district lawmakers included Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), and Ben McAdams (D-Utah.).

“I think it’s certainly appropriate and might be a little more bipartisan, who knows,” Schrader said Tuesday when asked about the possibility of a censure resolution. But he acknowledged: “Time’s slipping by.”

Rep. Schrader is not one of the 31 Democrats who represent districts won by President Trump in 2016, but Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory in his district was very narrow.

Speaker Pelosi has tight control of how every Democrat votes on all important legislation, and she is particularly focused on securing the votes needed to reach the magic number of 216 for a majority.

At present, based on public statements, she can count on 231 Democrats and one Independent, Amash, which would give her 232 votes, 16 more than the 216 needed for a majority.

Even if the ten “censure floating” House Democrats voted against both articles of impeachment, she would still be at 222 votes, which is six more than the 216 she needs.

That thin margin of victory, however, depends on the Democrats towing the party line, something that will be increasingly difficult as time goes on, given the weak and unsupported charges in the articles and the well documented public opposition to impeachment in key battleground states, as several recent polls noted.

All of this suggests that Speaker Pelosi is rushing to hold the impeachment vote on the floor of the House before Congress leaves for its Christmas recess, because there is no guarantee that she would be able to secure the majority 216 votes she needs after her Democratic members return in January.


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