House tied in knots over resolution to impeach Cheney
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, is trying to impeach Vice President Cheney for what he describes as "high crimes and misdemeanors" before the invasion of Iraq.
Right after the proposal was read on the House floor this afternoon, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer stepped forwarded and tried to convince lawmakers to table the bill.
"Impeachment is not on our agenda. We have some major priorities. We need to focus on those," Hoyer told Fox News.
Update at 3:39 p.m. ET: We thought that the vote to table was over -- the clock said 0:00 -- but lawmakers are still switching things around and Kucinich is within a few votes of getting his bill to come up for a vote.
Update at 3:43 p.m. ET: At least 149 Republicans have voted in favor of considering the impeachment resolution. Hoyer's motion, which would have blocked a vote, looks like its going to fail by at least 31 votes.
Update at 3:53 p.m. ET: The 15-minute vote began at 2:53 p.m. ET. It's been an hour, and they're still voting. The tally stands at 170-242 right now. Hoyer needed 218 votes to push the bill off the agenda. He's 72 votes short.
Update at 4:02 p.m. ET: Hoyer's motion failed 251-162. The House is now voting on whether to vote on whether the resolution should be sent to the Judiciary Committee.
Update at 4:25 p.m. ET: The vote to decide to vote (yes, you read that correctly) just ended. By a 218-194 margin, the House has to vote on whether to send the resolution to the Judiciary Committee. That's happening right now.
Update at 4:30 p.m. ET: Perhaps we should pause to explain. When most Republicans unexpectedly -- and on orders of GOP leadership, the AP is reporting -- switched sides and voted against tabling the measure, they essentially forced Democrats to keep talking about it on the floor. Tabling the measure would have killed it.
Debate over Cheney's impeachment is in direct opposition to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's wishes. She has repeatedly said an impeachment of Cheney or President Bush is off the table. Thus, failing to table this measure is a essentially a jab in Pelosi's ribs.
"We're going to help them out, to explain themselves," Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, told the AP of the impeachment's supporters. "We're going to give them their day in court."
Update at 4:32 p.m. ET: The House just voted, 218-194, to send the resolution to the Judiciary Committee. That should end today's debate -- but it does keep the resolution at least technically alive.