October 31, 2019

Members of NM House delegation vote to back impeachment investigation

Capitol Hill Building, Washington DC

House Democrats, including all members of New Mexico’s delegation, voted Thursday to approve rules related to the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

The 232-196 vote was nearly on party lines, with ex-Republican, now independent Justin Amash voting along with the Democratic majority and two Democrats voting with Republicans against the rules.

The vote outlined rules for the next phase of the impeachment proceedings, which has so far consisted of closed-door meetings with witnesses. At the same time, the House has been pushing for documents from Trump and testimony from those close to Trump.

Republicans have criticized the process, saying it is not transparent. Only members of the committees involved in the process, which are made up of members of both parties, are allowed in the room for the closed-door hearings. 

The vote is just the latest move in the impeachment efforts, centered around investigating the claims that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigations into Hunter Biden, the son of top-tier Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden. 

Ahead of the vote, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, “what is at stake in all of this is nothing less than our democracy.”

Xochitl Torres Small, who represents the conservative 2nd Congressional District, was among the moderate Democrats who voted for the rules.

“I came to Congress to address the challenges facing southern New Mexicans–out of control drug prices, health care accessibility, a crumbling infrastructure, and a broken border security and immigration system,” Torres Small said in a statement. “I remain focused every day on tackling those challenges with bipartisan solutions. To do that work, I must also constantly act to support and defend the Constitution. Today’s vote does just that by laying out a transparent, bipartisan process focused on finding the facts and determining the truth.”

The other two members of New Meixco’s delegation also voted for the rules.

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland said that Trump “betrayed his oath of office.” 

“We have the responsibility to uphold our Constitution and ensure that no one, not even the president, is above the law, but President Trump and his Administration have obstructed this investigation at every turn,” she said. “I cannot stand by while this President continues to abuse his office to enrich himself and his friends while New Mexicans are struggling to get by and puts his political interests ahead of our country. This vote makes it clear that we intend to deliver the truth to the American people so that the impeachment inquiry is fair and thorough.”

Assistant Speaker of the House Ben Ray Luján said, on Twitter, “The impeachment inquiry resolution provides due process for the president and will allow the American people to learn the truth. We are holding [Donald Trump] accountable for his abuse of power.”

The White House slammed the vote.

“The Democrats are choosing every day to waste time on a sham impeachment — a blatantly partisan attempt to destroy the President,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Update: Added quote from Ben Ray Luján.