The Denver Post: Denver Democrat will preside over Trump impeachment debate and vote
When the speaker’s gavel bangs in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday morning to debate the impeachment of President Donald Trump, that gavel will be held by a Denver Democrat.
U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette will preside over the House’s third impeachment debate and vote in American history, granting her a front-row seat to a chapter of that history. The Democrat-held House is expected to vote on two articles of impeachment Wednesday: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“I am honored that the speaker has asked me to serve as speaker pro tempore of the House and to preside over most of the impeachment debate,” said DeGette, who voted not to impeach President Bill Clinton in 1998. “None of us came to Congress to impeach a president, but every one of us – when we assumed office – took an oath to uphold the Constitution.”
On the eve of the debate Tuesday, hundreds of rallies took place across the country, including in Colorado, to urge lawmakers on. In Denver, a crowd that the Colorado State Patrol pegged as high as 1,500 deep flooded the area in front of the State Capitol Building to support impeachment.
DeGette, the longest-serving member of the Colorado congressional delegation, was asked to preside by Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday. It’s a role the speaker usually hands off to someone else, and the Denver progressive has been tapped to fill it during several key debates and votes this year.
It will be DeGette’s 15th time holding the gavel in 2019 despite losing her chief deputy whip job a year ago after a failed attempt at a higher leadership position. She has presided over debates concerning a whistle-blower complaint that began the impeachment process, whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt, whether to condemn Trump for his remarks toward members of Congress, and immigration funding, among other hot topics, according to a list kept by her office.
On Wednesday, it will fall on DeGette to manage what is likely to be a loud and passionate debate between Democrats who believe strongly that Trump has committed high crimes and misdemeanors, and Republicans adamant that he has not. DeGette was the first Coloradan in Congress to announce she will vote for both articles of impeachment when she said so Dec. 10.
“This is a sad and somber moment in our nation’s history and the responsibility to preside over this important debate is something I will not take lightly,” she said Tuesday.
Colorado’s four House Democrats say they will vote for both articles, and the state’s three House Republicans say they will vote against both.