The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday night passed a resolution in a strictly party-line vote that calls on Vice President Mike Pence to convene the cabinet and invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald J. Trump from power in light of last week’s events at the U.S. Capitol.
Pence earlier in the day wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) saying he will not invoke the 25th Amendment, making the resolution even more of a symbolic gesture.
Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07), a Democrat, was the only member of Alabama’s House delegation to support the measure; the six Republicans voted against the resolution.
Pelosi will now proceed to holding an impeachment vote on Wednesday. Sewell is a cosponsor of the article of impeachment that charges Trump for “incitement of insurrection.”
Ahead of Tuesday’s vote, Sewell tweeted, “If Pence and the Cabinet do not act, I will vote to impeach President Trump. There can be no unity without accountability.”
In contrast, Rep. Jerry Carl (AL-01) released a statement explaining why he voted against the resolution.
“Today I voted against House Resolution 21 which urges the Vice President to invoke the 25th Amendment, thereby removing President Trump from office. After careful consideration, it is my belief that the resolution’s claims do not meet the necessary requirements to invoke the 25th Amendment. The purpose of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution is to address an instance when a President is incapacitated. It was not, however, designed to carry out Nancy Pelosi’s political agenda,” Carl said.
Rep. Gary Palmer (AL-06) last week said that he holds Trump to be partially responsible for the rioting and violence that occurred at the Capitol. On Tuesday, Palmer explained why he would oppose the Democrats’ censure resolution and subsequent impeachment push.
“It is the Vice President, not Congress, upon whom the Constitution bestows the powers of the 25th Amendment,” the Central Alabama congressman stated. “Congress cannot usurp powers granted the executive branch with a House resolution. The Constitution states that, for a President to be removed by mobilization of the 25th Amendment, ‘the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide’ must ‘transmit their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.’ To date, Vice President Pence and the necessary executive officials have provided no such written declaration, and there are no other governing bodies to whom the law currently gives authority to declare a President unfit. Therefore, H.Res. 21 does not have a legal path forward.”
“A vote on this resolution, and the planned subsequent vote on an article of impeachment against the President, serve no purpose but to further incense and divide Americans against each other at an already heated moment,” Palmer continued. “Frustration and anger are running high, and these votes simply exacerbate this emotionally tense time. We can move forward as a country only if we lay aside partisanship and seek healing together, which these votes will not accomplish.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn