House Democrats’ second in command, Steny Hoyer (D-MD) refused to commit to putting the Democrats’ impeachment plan to a floor vote and told reporters he had not yet read the piece of draft legislation that Demcorats released Tuesday night.
Elsewhere, Democrats refused to give a timeline for any vote on impeachment, preferring instead to direct attention toward an “impeachment resolution” than commit to any concrete timetable for impeachment proceedings.
Hoyer seemed to indicate to VICE News Tuesday that he’d been left in the dark on the draft impeachment resolution, telling reporters that he was unable to give any further details on what was involved in the “resolution” or when the House might take a formal vote on it.
“We’re going to have to consider, whether or not it’s ready to go on Thursday,” Hoyer said. “I hope that’s the case.”
But Hoyer wasn’t clear on what “it” was, specifically.
“This is not an impeachment resolution,” Hoyer continued. “I don’t know what an impeachment resolution is.”
Pelosi also told reporters earlier this week that the draft legislation wasn’t an “impeachment resolution,” but House Democrats titled their Wednesday release as an “impeachment resolution,” adding to the confusion.
Speaking to reporters Monday, Pelosi claimed that the House would vote on a resolution that “affirms the ongoing, existing investigation” and “establishes the procedure for hearings that are open to the American people, authorizes the disclosure of deposition transcripts, outlines procedures to transfer evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and sets forth due process rights for the president and his Counsel,” according to the Washington Examiner.
“We are taking this step to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump Administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives,” she added.
If that seems like a rather non-committal piece of legislation, that’s because it is. No House resolution will compel a reticent White House to provide documents or witnesses if it has no intention of doing so, or, as in this case, does not see the impeachment inquiry as legitimate, and the resolution likely would not be binding enough on House Democrats to resolve the White House’s concerns about due process.
Indeed, when the draft legislation dropped Wednesday night, it included some basic boilerplate language about due process, but mostly signaled Democrats’ intent to change the process of their inquiry, from closed door hearings to open testimony on the floor of Congress. It also contained a provision gives ” [the House] Intelligence panel … sole authority to conduct the public hearings.”
That leaves Rep. Adam Schiff in charge of approving all witnesses, much to the chagrin of Republican legislators.
But they may not have to worry about the Schiff-led hearings just yet.
Monday, when Pelosi made her statements, however, Democrats were counting on a Thursday vote, and were proceeding as if the voting calendar was ironclad. Wednesday morning, however, it became clear that Democrats won’t be bringing the “impeachment resolution” up for a vote on Thursday, or perhaps, given that most legislators leave town to return to their home districts Thursday night, at any time this week.
“Hoyer, who controls the floor schedule, would not fully commit to holding the vote on Thursday,” according to the Washington Examiner. “‘We are going to have to consider whether or not it is ready to go on Thursday,’ Hoyer said.”