Cheney Impeachment Vote
Augurs Downfall of Pelosi
by Nancy Spannaus
As a result of the bold initiative by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination, to bring a privileged resolution for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney directly to the floor of the House of Representatives on Nov. 6, the House unexpectedly voted to refer it to the House Judiciary Committee, which has official jurisdiction over impeachment. In the words of Lyndon LaRouche, the bill to impeach Cheney is now "a live bomb sitting in the middle of the process. Instead of being killed, it has been kept alive."
The Nancy Pelosi-run Democratic leadership in the House, represented that day by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), attempted to kill Kucinich's effort, in favor of their traitorous "impeachment is off the table" policy. Their failure indicates that Pelosi's future as Speaker of the House, and as the current de facto head of the Democratic Party, is also in question.
In fact, by bringing the resolution for impeachment to the floor, Kuncinich made a crucial intervention, aimed at preventing Cheney from carrying out his broadly signalled intention to launch a war against Iran. Kucinich's three Articles of Impeachment include one based upon Cheney's campaign to manipulate the President, and the Congress, into another disastrous war, against the "security interests of the United States" (see text, page 40).
During an interview on C-SPAN while the vote was taking place, Kucinich emphasized that the importance of the impeachment motion, is that it addresses the danger posed by the Administration's aggressive moves against Iran.
Both Kucinich's initiative, and the House's vote against killing the resolution—which drew almost four times as many Democrats as have co-sponsored Kucinich's bill (86 voted against tabling; there are 22 co-sponsors)—also represent a turn in the political situation directly attributable to the activities of the LaRouche Political Action Committee (LPAC). Not only have LaRouche and LPAC been the prime movers behind the drive to impeach Cheney, from June 2003 on, but LaRouche had recently launched an aggressive, but humorous campaign demanding that Pelosi, the chief roadblock to impeachment and necessary action to save the economy, be removed (see animation at www.larouchepac.com).
Impeachment on the Table
Following Kucinich's announcement that he would be introducing his resolution, he read the full text of his Articles of Impeachment on the floor of the House. The House Democratic leadership, in the person of Hoyer, immediately moved to "lay it on the table," i.e., to kill the measure and prevent its consideration.
As the roll-call vote was being called, Hoyer's motion was winning, with about 290 "yea" votes. But at that point, a number of Republicans began changing their votes, so that there would be a debate on the floor; ultimately, 165 Republicans joined 86 Democrats in defeating the Pelosi-Hoyer motion to table the resolution.
Although some Republicans later claimed that their objective was to embarrass the Democratic leadership by forcing a floor debate, there was clearly more to it than that. One can just imagine the alarm and consternation in Cheney's office, as the deal between the Democratic and Republican leaderships to kill Kucinich's motion, fell apart.
But once that had happened, Hoyer and Pelosi were stuck. Hoyer then moved to refer the Kucinich motion to the Judiciary Committee, obviously in hopes that it could be "buried" there, as some pundits have subsequently claimed. But it seems clear that some assurances must have been given to supporters of the motion that the committee would treat it seriously, because Kucinich and most of his co-sponsors voted for the motion to send it to the committee. That motion carried by a 218-194 majority.
While some news outlets are insisting that the resolution will be buried in the Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), statements by Kucinich and a number of other Democrats have indicated that the committee will take it seriously and likely hold hearings. In three television interviews on the morning of Nov. 7, Kucinich made a forceful case that action must be taken.
In a feisty sparring match with MSNBC's Tucker Carlson, who claimed that impeachment is effectively "dead for right now," the Ohio Democrat responded that he "would take issue with the assertion that it's dead, because I think that there's a groundswell from people of all political parties who are concerned about the abuse of power by the Vice President."
"I think that there will be hearings in the Judiciary Committee," he added.
When Carlson called Kucinich's initiative "merely a ceremonial act," the Congressman countered that U.S. aircraft are being outfitted right now to bomb Iranian nuclear research facilities with bunker busters. "This would create an ecological and humanitarian disaster. We really are called upon to defend the Constitution," Kucinich said. "We can't afford to wait.... In a year, look at how much damage could be done."
Replying to the assertion by CBS commentator Harry Smith that Republicans had "called his bluff" in voting yesterday to have the debate on impeachment, Kucinich said:
"They didn't call my bluff. I was fully prepared for debate—with a three-inch-thick binder annotating the violations of law and the violations of the Constitution committed by the Vice President which would justify an impeachment.
"In Washington, the truth is an 'unidentified flying object.' And it's time that someone stood for the truth. The American people demand nothing less."
Others Want Hearings
In addition to the Ohio Congressman's own interviews, other Democrats entered the debate.
Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to his constituents, and urged the Committee "to schedule impeachment hearings immediately, and not let this languish as it has over the last six months.... The American people are served well with a legitimate and thorough impeachment inquiry." Wexler had not been one of the 22 co-sponsors of Kucinich's bill of impeachment against Cheney (H.R. 333), but he was one of 86 Democrats who voted to defeat Hoyer's attempt to "table" the Kucinich resolution.
Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, who is a co-sponsor, also predicted that the Judiciary Committee will hold hearings, according to the Washington Post. "The issue is still alive," Cohen said.
Another Democrat, also not a co-sponsor of H.R. 333, Carolyn Shea-Porter (N.H.), issued a statement which said:
"In a strongly bipartisan vote today, the House of Representatives voted to refer a resolution to impeach Vice President Cheney to the House Judiciary Committee.... It is the duty of the Vice President to faithfully execute the laws of the United States of America and to defend the Constitution. There is growing evidence that the Executive Branch has ignored some of our laws and has attempted to bend the Constitution to its will.
"Members of both parties decided that this issue is too important to ignore. I voted with my Republican and Democratic colleagues to investigate the Vice President's actions in office."
The Impeach Cheney resolution is now squarely "on the plate" of the Judiciary Committee, as one Congressional staffer noted. The committee itself put out a statement declaring: "The committee has a very busy agenda—over the next two weeks, we hope to pass a FISA bill, to vote on contempt of Congress citations, pass legislation on prisoner re-entry, court security and a variety of other very important items.... 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."
LaRouche Answers Hoyer
As usual, it was left to LaRouche to directly answer the sophistry which is coming from the House leadership, specifically the Majority Leader. Hoyer issued a statement after the vote in which he claimed that the Democrats would stick to "priorities" like health care and Iraq, rather than impeachment—although, of course, no effective action can be taken by the Congress, without being subject to Presidential veto, or subversion through signing statements, without getting rid of Cheney.
LaRouche's statement read as follows:
- The ouster of Vice-President Cheney is an existential issue of the immediately highest importance for the continued existence of our republic. Failure to oust Cheney now would represent the gravest clear and present danger to the continued existence of our present constitutional republic.
- The only legislative issue of comparable importance for our republic is the immediate enactment of my proposed firewall legislation, HBPA, without which a social crisis, combined with a chain-reaction disintegration of our banking system were virtually inevitable for the short period immediately ahead.
- The Speaker may have a contrary agenda, but that agenda is not presently in the existential interest of our republic. Political egos can not be given priority over the interests of the existential interests of our republic and its people.
 According to official House Precedents, covering the "Rights of the House member Presenting a Privileged Impeachment Resolution: A member submitting a privileged resolution, memorial or motion proposing impeachment is entitled to recognition for one hour in which to debate it. A member recognized to present a privileged resolution may not be taken from the floor by a motion to refer."