WASHINGTON — The House is preparing this week its first formal vote related to Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, forcing officials to go beyond public statements and adding symbolic heft to the effort.
Some in the Philadelphia region have been more eager for this moment than others.
Those from more liberal districts have been advocating an aggressive posture toward the president for months, long before the revelations of his pressure on Ukraine turned the Democratic tide in favor of an impeachment inquiry.
Others from more moderate districts had long resisted, urging a focus on local issues, until they said Trump had crossed a line by pushing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
And two lawmakers from the area — one Democratic and one Republican — still oppose the impeachment inquiry. The Democrat, Rep. Jeff Van Drew of Cape May County, indicated Tuesday he will also vote against the Democratic resolution establishing the inquiry’s rules. (None of the districts in the Philadelphia region are as deeply conservative as the more rural areas where Trump is most popular.)
Below is a breakdown of where local House members stand on the impeachment inquiry, grouped by their positions and the political leanings of their districts.
They’re expected to vote Thursday on a resolution setting out the procedures for the inquiry going forward, including the process for public hearings, the release of transcripts from closed-door depositions, and the circumstances under which Republicans will be able to call witnesses or request documents. Many of the rules mirror those used during the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton and answer weeks of GOP criticism, though Republican leaders said it was too late to clean up a tainted inquiry.
Democrats from Philadelphia and its more liberal suburbs say their constituents have long urged them to rein in the president. Unlike other Democrats, their greatest political risk is likely to come not from going too far, but from not acting aggressively enough.
“In the district I’m in? Every other word is, ‘We sent you here to get rid of him. You haven’t done it yet,'” said U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans of Philadelphia, one of the first Democrats from the area to call for impeachment.
In addition to Evans, these House Democrats have been full-throated supporters of the inquiry, even before the Ukraine revelations. They all represent solidly blue districts:
Some of their Democratic neighbors were slower to embrace impeachment.
These Democrats represent much more competitive districts, and all won in 2018 by promising to bring a pragmatic, nonpartisan approach to Washington. Many of them are based in areas that have traditionally supported Republicans, and they would be on the front lines of any political backlash (though so far public polling has moved in favor of an impeachment inquiry).
Each has said revelations of the whistle-blower complaint against Trump and the White House’s summary of Trump’s call with Zelensky pushed them over the line to support the investigation, citing national security.
They continue to argue that they, and their constituents, are more focused on everyday issues that affect them at home. But on Thursday, they will go formally on the record about the ongoing inquiry and its procedure.
Two House members from the Philadelphia area oppose the impeachment inquiry: one Democrat who has broken with his party, and one Republican whose views largely echo the GOP party line. They represent two of the most competitive districts in the region.