In the first substantive action taken in Congress that signals how the nation’s congressional members stand on the now-certainty of an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, Democrats and Republicans voted today on a nearly party-line basis to approve a package of ground rules for the approaching, sure-to-be contentious, legislative battle.
The Democratic package, HR 660, was passed by House members, 232-196, with all Republicans voting to oppose the resolution. Just two Democrats joined the Republicans to vote against it: freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and 15-term veteran Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, a Democratic conservative. Both represent GOP-leaning districts.
The vote was a prelude to the actual inquiry and gave a strong signal as to how congressional members will line up when the chamber begins deliberations. The measure outlined the procedures lawmakers will follow during public hearings, which will follow the concluding closed-door witness interview sessions.
Rep. Derek Kilmer, 6th Congressional District Democrat who represents Kitsap County, released a statement following his vote in support of HR 660:
“As the impeachment inquiry proceeds, it is important that it be transparent and fair. That’s what today’s vote was about. The first thing I did as our community’s representative was to swear an oath to uphold the constitution. I take that oath seriously. The months ahead should not be about re-litigating the 2016 election or trying to influence the 2020 election. Rather, they should be about protecting the integrity of our democracy and the rule of law. And as someone who came here to make life better for the folks I represent, my sincere hope is that Congress continues to move forward on those vital priorities as well.”