Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, New Jersey Democrats in Congress Differ in Whether Impeachment Inquiry Would Be Right Move

Democrats representing the Philadelphia region are not in agreement on the issue of impeachment.

What to Know

  • Two freshman Democrats representing South Jersey congressional districts formerly held by Republicans are against impeachment.
  • Philadelphia's two congressmen are in support of impeachment, as are congresswomen representing some of the city's suburbs.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who visited Delaware County last week, are been reluctant to support impeachment.

In the hour following special counsel Robert Mueller’s first public statements about his nearly two-year investigation, a congressman from Philadelphia posed the question that faces all of his colleagues.

“The question now for Congress is: What do we do with this?” said U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, a Democrat who represents Pennsylvania's 2nd District.

Democrats are not in unison on the issue — nor are local members of Congress representing the Philadelphia region. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has approached the idea of impeachment very carefully, with the presidential election next year looming large over every move Congress makes.

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Boyle, however, went farther Wednesday than he has previously on the issue.

“I think we need to move forward with whatever it takes to get the job done, even if that includes impeachment hearings,” he said. Boyle later tweeted that “it’s time to officially start Impeachment Hearings.”

Another Democrat, U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ), who represents Burlington and Ocean counties in New Jersey, does not agree with Boyle.

“I don’t support opening impeachment proceedings right now,” Kim said in a statement. “President Trump’s refusal to be open and transparent to Congress has brought the business of lowering health care costs and creating jobs to a grinding halt.”

Kim continued to say President Trump should cooperate with congressional investigations and “let the American people see all the facts so we can get back to doing the people’s work.”

Fellow New Jersey Democrat, U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who like Kim flipped a congressional district from red to blue last year and is in his first term representing South Jersey, said in statement that barring any new evidence, he is "done with" talk of "impeachment, investigations, or divisive, unproductive politics." Van Drew said it is "time to move forward."

House members are out of session this week and are scheduled to return to Washington next week - when talk about what to do next isn’t likely to let up.

Rep. Dwight Evans, who along with Boyle represents Philadelphia in the city's 3rd District, said Democrats can address issues like health care while at the same time holding the president accountable.

Evans, who supports an impeachment inquiry, said members have to make their own decision on the issue.

“This is not a partisan issue,” Evans said. “They have to make their own independent decision.”

So far, much of the action on Capitol Hill has been in the House Judiciary Committee, where two Philadelphia-area members have roles. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, who serves as vice chair, and Rep. Madeleine Dean have both called for an impeachment inquiry.

Both women appeared at an event last week in Delaware County with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has resisted impeachment-related calls but said Friday that "nothing is off the table."

Asked at that event about the difference in stance on an impeachment inquiry with Pelosi, Dean insisted they were “not on different pages.”

“She knows I am on the Judiciary Committee and that I have an independent voice,” Dean said of Pelosi. “This is process. This is all a part of a process. She’s shepherding something much bigger.”

Correction (June 3, 2019, 9:32 a.m.): This story has been updated to properly reflect the congressional district Rep. Dwight Evans represents.

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