(APN) ATLANTA – 32 US House Representatives have signed on as sponsors or co-sponsors of H. Res 635, which would create a Select Committee to look into the grounds for recommending President Bush’s impeachment, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.
Their co-sponsorships of H. Res 635 come on the heels of reports that US Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) will support US Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) bill, S. Res 398, to censure President Bush.
The two latest co-sponsors of H. Res 635 are US Rep. David Wu (D-OR) and US Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN).
“Because of my concern, and that of many of my constituents, regarding the misleading and fraudulent intelligence used by the Bush administration to present its case for war in Iraq, I decided to cosponsor H. Res 635 introduced by Representative John Conyers,” Wu said in a statement prepared for Atlanta Progressive News.
US Rep. Wu has held a series of Town Hall events focusing on the war in Iraq in his House district, the Congressman’s spokesperson said. At these events, numerous constituents brought up the bill for H. Res 635, Wu’s spokesperson noted, adding that Wu voted against the resolution for the authorization for the use of force in Iraq, and he has always questioned Bush’s justification for the US invasion of Iraq.
US Rep. McCollum was attending events in her House district and was not available for immediate comment.
“There has been massive support for House Resolution 635 from a very vigorous network of grassroots activists and people committed to holding the Bush Administration accountable for its widespread abuses of power,” US Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) said in a statement prepared for Atlanta Progressive News.
“The Atlanta Progressive News has reported regularly on this bill,” Conyers wrote in an article on his blog.
Meanwhile, other mainstream media outlets are finally beginning to discover what we’ve been reporting since December 2005. Unfortunately, articles from the New York Times, Associated Press, and Boston Globe, have contained misleading or outright incorrect assertions.
The Associated Press updated one article after a call from Atlanta Progressive News, where it had erroneously reported the content of H. Res 635. The New York Times today and Boston Globe yesterday reported inaccurate or misleading counts of the number of co-sponsors. The Times had said “about two dozen,” which is not a very good way to describe 32. The Globe made an understandable error, citing 29 supporters, when there had been in fact 29 co-sponsors, plus Conyers, the original sponsor, made 30, at the time.
The New York Times piece was also highly slanted, focusing on the likelihood that calls for looking into the grounds for Bush’s impeachment–or for Bush’s censure–would rally the Republican base. The Times neglects to mention the possibility of rallying the Democratic base. It also opts out of discussing the possible merits of the bill.
Meanwhile, at least eight (8) US cities, including Arcata, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco, each in California; and Brookfield, Dummerston, Marlboro, Newfane, and Putney, each in Vermont, have passed resolutions calling for Bush’s impeachment.
Almost 16% of US House Democrats now support the impeachment probe; over 7% of all US House Representatives now support the probe. In December 2005, there were 231 Republicans in the US House, 202 Democrats, 1 Independent, and 1 vacancy, a clerk for the US House of Representatives told Atlanta Progressive News.
The best represented states on H. Res 635 are California (7), New York (6), Massachusetts (3), Minnesota (3), Georgia (2), and Wisconsin (2).
The current 30 total co-sponsors are Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA), Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), Rep. John Olver (D-MA), Rep. Major Owens (D-NY), Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Martin Sabo (D-MN), Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Fortney Pete Stark (D-CA), Rep. John Tierney (D-MA), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), and Rep. David Wu (D-OR).
“What a lot of activists group want is the next step, which is Articles of Impeachment. You don’t have to pass this type of bill first. I think there’s a fair chance that if the list of co-sponsors grows dramatically, Conyers and others will take that next step of introducing articles of impeachment,” David Swanson of ImpeachPAC told Atlanta Progressive News.
At least two members of Congress are prepared to sign Articles of Impeachment if they were to be introduced, sources tell Atlanta Progressive News. One of the members is US Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), whose office clarified earlier Associated Press reports, by saying Lewis would indeed sign such a bill, assuming that any bill of impeachment would of course be introduced as a result of a thorough process, such as one including the investigation called for in H. Res 635.
Dave Lindorff wrote in The Baltimore Chronicle that he and Barbara Olshansky (an attorney at The Center for Constitutional Rights) will reveal in an upcoming book that “members of Congress–even firebrands like Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)–have been strong-armed behind the scenes by the Democratic National Committee not to introduce an impeachment bill in the House.”
Conyers’s bill was initially referred to the US House Rules Committee, which has not taken action. None of the US House Democrats on the Rules Committee have signed on as co-sponsors. The Ranking Democrat on the Committee is US Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY). Democratic members of the Committee are Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Doris Matsui (D-CA), and James McGovern (D-MA). Republicans currently outnumber Democrats on the committee by about a two-to-one ratio.
The US House Rules Committee would need to take action on H. Res 635 because it calls for the creation of a Select Committee, in other words the creation of a new committee that is not a standing committee, Jonathan Godfrey, Communications Director for US Rep. Conyers, told Atlanta Progressive News. Such a Committee would need to be staffed, Godfrey noted.
If the Democratic Party is able to retake the US House of Representatives, Rep. Conyers would become Chairman Conyers of the House Judiciary Committee, whereas he is currently the Ranking Democrat on the Committee. The Judiciary Committee would oversee any actual impeachment investigation.
If not acted on this session, the bill would have to be reintroduced next session. It is possible that a new bill could include new language regarding Bush's approval of illegal NSA domestic wiretapping.
For now, however, sources in Washington DC tell Atlanta Progressive News that H. Res 635 is a venue for coalition among members of Congress who are willing to consider impeachment for a variety of reasons.
Even though H. Res 635 does not specifically reference the NSA domestic wiretapping issue, some Members of US Congress have found the wiretapping issue to be a compelling reason to sign on as a co-sponsor, sources say.
In other words, why introduce separate legislation to address a single issue when momentum has been built with H. Res 635?
The thing about H. Res. 635 is, it deals with impeaching Bush over a cluster of issues from misleading the public to go to war, to authorizing torture. Wiretapping was not listed as one of the reasons to investigate the grounds for Bush's impeachment in the bill because the existence of the secret, illegal wiretapping had not come to light yet when the bill was being prepared.
US Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) withdrew her name from H. Res 635 last month, whereas she had been listed as a cosponsor throughout January 2006. Lofgren cited a clerical error for her name having been listed in the first place. Lofgren's Office told Atlanta Progressive News the Representative learned of her being listed as a co-sponsor after reading an exclusive article by Atlanta Progressive News issued January 01, 2006.
H. Res 635 reads as its official title: "Creating a select committee to investigate the Administration's intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment."
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) also just released a book, Articles of Impeachment Against President Bush. The Center is extremely influential in high-profile court fights over issues such as wiretapping, the treatment of detainees by the US, and felon voting rights.
“We have the book, we are calling for the impeachment of the President, and we’re supporting Conyers’s resolution,” Bill Goodman, CCR Legal Director, told Atlanta Progressive News.
Atlanta Progressive News has provided near-exclusive–and during many times, exclusive–coverage of the progress of H. Res 635. We will continue to follow this story and any related developments.
Find Out More About The Center for Constitutional Rights
Find Out More About ImpeachPAC
Find Out More About The Honorable John Conyers
About the author:
Matthew Cardinale is the Editor and National Correspondent of Atlanta Progressive News. He may be reached at matthew (at) atlantaprogressivenews.com
This article may be reprinted in full at no cost where Atlanta Progressive News is credited.