House GOP tests Democrat tilt with Cheney impeachment resolution
House Republicans on Nov. 6 exposed a rift between Democratic lawmakers and their liberal base by nearly forcing a debate over a proposal to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney.
Democrats initially seemed to have the votes to block debate on the impeachment resolution brought by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, a long-shot liberal presidential candidate.
But several Republicans changed their votes at the suggestion of Rep. John Shadegg, Arizona Republican, and the motion to kill the resolution was defeated.
“I’d like to know how far left [Democrats] are,” Mr. Shadegg said in an interview with The Washington Times. “It seems to me they owe it to their base to have an up-or-down vote.”
A second motion by House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, sent the resolution to the House Judiciary Committee, essentially killing the bill.
Republicans said the episode exposed a lack of control by House leadership over their liberal members, many of whom support impeachment proceedings against Mr. Cheney.
“I strongly support Vice President Cheney,” said Mr. Shadegg, adding that he would expect any impeachment vote to fail. “But it’s not the job of the minority party to help the majority do its dirty work.”
Mr. Hoyer accused Republicans of playing political games, saying their tactic to switch votes was “beneath the dignity of this institution.”
“This is a continuation of Re- publicans’ gotcha games that achieve nothing more than shortterm entertainment for themselves, while showing their disdain for the importance of the people’s business,” he said.
The Kucinich resolution had more than 20 Democratic co-sponsors, but it was shunned by party leadership.
The resolution accused Mr. Cheney of being in “violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of vice president” over his handling of the Iraq war.
The document added that the vice president “purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests.”
Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, a Democratic presidential hopeful, had more than 20 co-sponsors for his resolution to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney.