Kucinich Vows to Keep Up Impeachment Fight
The House voted today by a comfortable margin to refer 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush to the Judiciary Committee, as the measure's chief sponsor vowed to bring the issue up again if the panel does not agree to hold hearings.
On a 251-166 vote, the chamber elected to refer Rep. Dennis Kucinich's (D-Ohio) resolution to the Judiciary panel. All 227 Democrats present voted in favor of the referral, along with 24 Republicans -- a big boost from the four GOP lawmakers who voted for referral of charges against Vice President Cheney back in November.
Democratic leaders have made clear that they want no further action on impeachment this year, but Kucinich said after the vote that doing nothing was not an option.
"Leadership wants to bury it, but this is one resolution that will be coming back from the dead," Kucinich told Capitol Briefing. "Thirty days from now, if there is no action, I will be bringing the resolution up again, and I won't be the only one reading it."
Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) has not commented on whether he plans to hold hearings, and Kucinich said he would meet with Conyers this week to present him with documentation for his charges against Bush. But if there is no further action, Kucinich said, "We'll come back and many of us will be reading this [on the House floor], and we'll come back with 60 articles, not 35."
Some Democrats agree with Kucinich that there should be hearings, but don't necessarily believe the House should actually impeach Bush.
"In my district, people have asked me many times why we haven't impeached President Bush, because they felt some of the things that he has done far outweighs what Clinton was impeached for," said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).
Cummings said he'd like to see Judiciary hold impeachment hearings, because "there are a lot of questions out there and I think a lot of those questions need to be answered before [Bush] leaves office." But Cummings doesn't think the House should take the process all the way to the end, as it did with Clinton.
"The time we spend impeaching the president would be better spent doing productive things for the country," he said.
On the GOP side, some of the 166 lawmakers who voted against referral today did so because they wanted to simply table the resolution, while others actually wanted to have an immediate, full floor debate so they could try to paint Democrats as partisan extremists.
"In my personal opinion, we should have had a debate," said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), who called the entire impeachment movement "just political posturing."
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