After weeks of claiming a vote in the full House on impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump would not be necessary, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday abruptly announced there would be a vote on the House floor this week.
Now, Pelosi’s top lieutenant isn’t so sure.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the Maryland Democrat who controls the House floor schedule, told reporters on Tuesday that he did not know if a vote would be taking place in two days.
“We are going to have to consider whether or not it is ready to go on Thursday,” Hoyer said, according to the Washington Examiner.
Under Pelosi’s direction, Democrats have been unwilling to seek a full vote in the House on their “impeachment inquiry,” preferring it to be handled by the House Intelligence Committee and its chairman, California Rep. Adam Schiff. Schiff has outraged Republicans by conducting hearings behind closed doors.
However, under pressure from Republicans, Pelosi changed her mind.
According to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a resolution introduced in the Senate on Thursday by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham — and co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — pushed Pelosi into action by demanding that “the House of Representatives, prior to proceeding any further with its impeachment investigation into President Trump, to vote to initiate a formal impeachment inquiry.”
In an opinion column published by Fox News on Tuesday, Gingrich wrote that that resolution had forced Pelosi’s hand.
“Graham has written a powerful resolution which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell joined in co-sponsoring. Together they have attracted 50 co-sponsors – which means with Vice President Pence supporting them they would win a vote to dismiss any phony impeachment from the House that failed to meet a key standard of fairness,” Gingrich wrote.
“As a practical matter, the House Democrats had no choice but to bring the impeachment process to a vote. They were faced with a Trump administration that refused to cooperate with a secret investigation which lacked rules and authorization by the full House. They were also faced with a Senate that was prepared to reject a kangaroo court-style secret approach.”
Now, however, it looks like House Democrats might not be ready for a vote after all.
And if there is no Thursday vote, the House is closed on Friday and will be in recess next week.
That means there would be no vote until at least Nov. 12, after the Veterans Day holiday.
Regardless, Gingrich wrote that House Democrats will have to cast a vote if they want their impeachment effort taken seriously by the Senate.
“If the House Democrats fail to heed the warning of the Graham-McConnell Resolution, they will be setting up all their efforts to be dismissed out of hand by the senators who have called on them for real reforms in the current impeachment process,” he wrote.
“Graham and McConnell have already had a big impact in just a few days. They are now poised to judge whether the Democrats’ proposed rules represent real fairness and real bipartisanship or are simply more of the same dishonest, secretive, one-sided baloney Schiff has served up so far.”