WASHINGTON – While the Washington state Senate is set to discuss whether Congress should impeach the president,four of the state's representatives in Congress say the answer is already a no.
The Washington state Senate's Government Operations and Elections Committee plans to hear the Senate Joint Memorial 8016,sponsored by Sen. Eric Oemig,D-Kirkland,on Thursday.
The memorial would call on Congress to investigate the activities of President Bush and Vice President Cheney,specifically their justification for the invasion of Iraq.
Washington Democrats U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Jay Inslee have said that,while they are not in favor of Congress taking up impeachment,they are not strongly lobbying against the state's hearing.
Inslee told a state legislator Feb. 22 that he did not think the impeachment hearing was a “productive thing to do,” said Christine Hanson,Inslee's press secretary.
“Rather than grandstanding on impeachment,he is in favor of bringing the troops home,” Hanson said.
Similarly,when she was in Olympia,Wash.,Friday,Murray told Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown,D-Spokane,and other state leaders,”I have two words for anyone who's talking about impeachment: Dick Cheney,” said Alex Glass,a spokeswoman for Murray.
“She wasn't there to lobby by any stretch of the imagination,” Glass said.
“She is not interested in telling the legislature how to do their jobs,but on a federal level,it's not something we are focused on,” Glass added.
Sen. Maria Cantwell,D-Wash.,and Rep. Norm Dicks,D-Wash.,also oppose impeaching the president.
Impeachment can be a lengthy process,requiring much of Congress's focus,Hanson said. Inslee worries it would divert Congress from changing the course of the war in Iraq and force House and Senate members to invest all their focus on the impeachment,she said.
All other activities would come to a screeching halt as Congress is extremely interrupted in an impeachment,she added.
Murray agreed. Instead of spotlighting impeachment,she is interested in “righting the ship that has been heading in the wrong direction,” Glass said. Murray is more interested in tackling issues such as stem cell research and applying the 9/11 commission's recommendations that have been overlooked by the administration,Glass added.
Inslee,who has been an outspoken administration critic,favors continuing with congressional oversight investigations and feels Congress is doing a good job of it,Hanson said. Since new session started in January,the House has hosted more than 70 oversight hearings to keep Bush and Cheney in check,she added.