Iowa’s three Democratic members of the House of Representatives voted tonight on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, voting with their colleagues to set up a Senate trial for only the third time in U.S. history.
On Tuesday, U.S. Reps. Abby Finkenauer, Dave Loebsack and Cindy Axne each announced their support for impeachment.
And on Wednesday night, they joined hundreds of their House colleagues in a historic vote.
On Article I – Abuse of Power, the measure passed 230-197. Two Democrats voted against the first article and no Republicans voted in favor. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic presidential candidate, voted “present.”
Article 2 – Obstruction of Congress, was supported 229-198. Three Democrats voted against the second article and no Republicans voted in favor. Gabbard again voted present.
No Iowa Democrats spoke on the House floor over the course of six hours of debate.
Because Loebsack is not running for reelection in 2020, his support for impeachment was less scrutinized. As vulnerable freshmen members, however, Finkenauer and Axne were watched closely. They are two of 31 Democratic House members representing a congressional district Trump won in 2016.
“When I took the oath of office, I swore to protect the Constitution and our democracy,” said Axne, Tuesday in a statement. “After carefully reviewing the evidence presented from the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees; it’s clear the President abused his power by using $400 million in taxpayer money for his own personal gain and obstructed justice by ordering his administration to refuse to testify or provide subpoenaed documents.”
The $400 million Axne referred to was the amount of military aid to Ukraine President Trump threatened to withhold if the country did not investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
Axne and Finkenauer have rebuked Republican criticism that Democrats only are focused on impeachment by passing a slew of bills as the year comes to a close.
“This decision is not, and was never about politics, and this shouldn’t be about political parties or elections,” said Finkenauer. “It’s about facts, dignity in public service, and honoring those who fought and continue to fight to protect our sacred democracy. I’ll continue to do my job with the same values and respect I grew up with here in Iowa. It will soon be up to our US senators if they choose to do the same.”
Loebsack, who came into office 10 years removed from President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, said it was “a somber time not only for Congress, but the nation as a whole.”
“Going forward, we must not allow the actions of this President to set an example for future office holders that will further erode our democracy,” said Loebsack. “Even with the unprecedented obstruction from the Administration, including the refusal to provide documents and allow witnesses to testify, the facts surrounding these very serious accusations leave little room for interpretation and the case that has been laid out is clear.”
Though there was a debate between Democrats in the House over how many impeachment articles to bring forward, the caucus ultimately settled on two: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
When Clinton was impeached in 1998, four articles were brought against him, but only “lying under oath” and “obstruction of justice” were successful. At the time, Iowa Republican Jim Leach was one of eight Republicans in the House to vote against the obstruction charge.
This time around, no Republicans broke rank. 4th District Congressman Steve King voted against both articles of impeachment.
By Elizabeth Meyer