Wary of polls showing battleground state voters are frowning on the impeachment effort in Congress, House Democrats plan a legislative blitz this week they’ll be able to tout when they return home for the holidays.
The House will take a historic vote next week to impeach President Trump, only the third such vote in history.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also packed the schedule with critical legislation that will allow Democratic lawmakers to show constituents the party is working on their “For the People Agenda” and not just impeaching Trump.
The House will vote on legislation to fund the government for the fiscal year, which will dodge a government shutdown, and lawmakers will also likely vote on a long-awaited, major trade deal between the United States, Mexico, and Canada that proponents say will boost the U.S. economy and create thousands of jobs.
The impeachment vote will occur midweek, sandwiched in between the spending and trade bill, which may slip if the White House is late sending over implementing legislation.
Pelosi, a California Democrat, has won passage of several major bills in December, including prescription drug legislation, a defense spending authorization measure, and a bill that overhauls the immigrant guest worker program.
“All you’re doing is impeachment,” Pelosi said last week. “No, that’s not all we’re doing.”
In a clear signal Pelosi wants to shift the focus away from impeachment, she designated Rep. Kim Schrier, a Washington Democrat who represents a swing district, to deliver the party’s weekly address. Schrier promoted the House-passed Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which Democrats passed last week.
Schrier downplayed the historic House impeachment vote coming up in a matter of days.
“In my district, it’s not impeachment; it’s not what is on the front page of the newspapers in Washington, D.C.,” Schrier said. “It’s ‘what are you going to do to bring down the cost of prescription drugs?’”
Pelosi’s effort to highlight legislation and not impeachment is grounded in polling that shows voters in battleground states want Congress to focus on legislation and not on removing Trump.
A new poll by Firehouse Strategies and Optimus found Trump’s support during has increased in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin as House Democrats have proceeded with its impeachment inquiry.
“When asked about whether congressional Democrats should be spending their time impeaching Trump or focusing on policy issues, a majority of these battleground state voters choose ‘focus on policy issues,’” polling officials said.
Republicans, who all oppose impeachment, have repeatedly criticized House Democrats for focusing on impeachment at the expense of legislation, even though Democrats have passed more than 200 bills this year.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the trade deal, the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, would not get a vote until after the Senate takes up a trial to consider the articles of impeachment against the president, which could drag on for weeks.
“For weeks, my Republican colleagues and I have been pleading with our Democratic colleagues in Congress to put aside their impeachment obsession long enough to complete some basic work for the American people,” said McConnell, a Kentucky Republican. “We’ve explained that American families cannot afford for Washington Democrats to obsess over impeachment and obstruct everything else.”
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