Kucinich not stopping with Cheney, plans Bush impeachment resolution too
(Update at bottom: GOP blocks Dem-led motion to kill impeachment resolution; measure sent to House Judiciary )
Presidential hopeful Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who brought an impeachment resolution against Vice President Dick Cheney to the House floor on Tuesday, says he is also planning a similar resolution to impeach President Bush.
The news came during a conference call Kucinich held with supporters Monday evening, although technical problems kept most on the call from being able to hear the congressman.
But activist David Swanson, who spoke directly with Kucinich during the call, summarized the contents of his conversation in an email:
"He is going to introduce a privileged resolution on the floor of the
U.S. House Tuesday morning to force a vote on his resolution to impeach
Cheney," confirmed Swamson. "While that bill includes offenses related to Iraq and Iran, Kucinich plans to focus his remarks on Iran and the fact that the current Pentagon bill includes funding to retrofit bombers to carry 15-ton bombs."
Concerning the possible resolution against Bush, Swanson said Kucinich "wanted to let everyone know that he will not only continue pushing
for the impeachment of Cheney but will also take up the impeachment of
Bush with a new resolution."
It's unclear as to when such a resolution would brought to the floor, or how dependent its introduction would be on the success of today's move against Cheney. The former Cleveland mayor will hold a press conference today at 3:00 p.m.
Swanson added that Kucinich was prepared for a debate on the substance of the charges against Cheney, but also mentioned the measure could be tabled --a move that effectively kills a pending matter by ending debate -- or sent to committee. If the latter option happens, the committee in question will be the House Judiciary.
The Kucinich campaign's website
states that the technical problems with the conference call were because "public interest in the issue exceeded technological capacity." The call will be rescheduled.
Kucinich's "privileged resolution" on the Cheney matter is a maneuver which will require a vote from all House members -- and allows him to act in spite of protestations from Democratic leaders, who don't want a vote to come to the floor, according to Politico's Ryan Grim.
According to The Hill newspaper, Kucinich's idea -- which would put legislators on the record about Cheney's impeachment -- is making some Democrats uneasy.
"If he pulls it off, it could make for an uncomfortable situation for Democratic leaders and centrist Democrats," The Hill's Mike Soraghan writes of Kucinich's plan. "Liberal activists are pushing for impeachment, while leaders worry such a move could turn off independent voters. They have made it clear that impeachment of Cheney or President Bush is off the table."
Democrats might be tempted to opt to send the resolution to committee, according to Soraghan, who says that such a move "avoids an immediate floor vote and might be the most appealing option to the Democratic leadership."
Despite its apparent unpopularity among Democratic legislators, the Kucinich proposal is not necessarily out of line with American public opinion: a July poll from American Research Group found that 54% of those surveyed favored the "US House of Representatives beginning impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney."
“Congress must hold the Vice President accountable," Kucinich said in a statement last week. "The American people need to let Members of Congress know how they feel about this. The Vice President continues to use his office to advocate for a continued occupation of Iraq and prod our nation into a belligerent stance against Iran. If the Vice President is successful, his actions will ensure decades of disastrous consequences.”
House Republicans vote against Democratic-led move to table Cheney impeachment measure; resolution sent to House Judiciary
In an unexpected move, House Republicans on Tuesday voted against a measure to kill an impeachment resolution introduced against Vice President Dick Cheney by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).
A motion to table, which would have ended debate on the resolution, had been brought by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) soon after Rep. Kucinich took to the floor to read from his proposed articles of impeachment.
"Impeachment is not on the agenda," Rep. Hoyer had told Fox News earlier on Tuesday."We have some major priorities. We need to focus on those."
Although the roll call vote had initially appeared to favor Hoyer's motion, Republicans -- who had at first voted in with the majority leader --later began to switch their votes.
That decision is being widely interpreted as an attempt to embarrass the Democratic leadership, which is not keen on seeing further action on the impeachment resolution. “I am surprised that Republicans would treat an issue as important as the potential impeachment of a vice president of the United States as a petty political game,” Hoyer said in a statement.
"Republicans gleefully said they wanted the debate to show the public how many Democrats would actually support impeaching Cheney, which they consider a move supported only by a fringe element of anti-war activists," reports the Washinton Post.
According to The Hill newspaper, Republican sources credit Congressman John Shadegg (R-AZ) with the idea of trying to keep the debate afloat. The final vote count on the measure was 251-162.
Following the failure of his motion, Rep. Hoyer immediately moved to have the resolution sent to the House Judiciary Committee, which the House eventually approved in a 218-194 vote along strict party lines.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) told Fox News on Monday that moving forward with impeachment was not in the best interests of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
"If she were to let this thing out of the box," said Conyers, "considering the number of legislative issues we have pending ... it could create a split that could effect our productivity for the rest of the Congress."
The Baltimore Sun's blog, The Swamp, describes the resolution as now "buried in committee."
But a spokeswoman for the House Judiciary did not rule out the committee's consideration of the measure. "We were surprised that the minority was so ready to move forward with consideration of a matter of such complexity as impeaching the Vice President," she said. "The Chairman will discuss today's vote with the Committee members but it would seem evident that the committee staff should continue to consider, as a preliminary matter, the many abuses of this Administration, including the Vice President."
Kucinich said in a press conference late Tuesday afternoon that he believed the measure may still have a life.
"I've spoken to Mr. Conyers and I'm quite confident that the ball is in good hands," said Kucinich.