Vermont Senate Calls for Bush Impeachment
Lawmakers Also Call for Impeachment of Cheney
By ROSS SNEYD
MONTPELIER, Vt. (April 20) - Vermont senators voted Friday to call for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, saying their actions in Iraq and the U.S. "raise serious questions of constitutionality."
The non-binding resolution was approved 16-9 without debate - all six Republicans in the chamber at the time and three Democrats voted against it. The resolution was the latest, symbolic, effort in the state to impeach Bush. In March, 40 towns in the state known for its liberal leaning voted in favor of similar, non-binding resolutions at their annual meetings. State lawmakers in Wisconsin and Washington have also pushed for similar resolutions.
The Vermont Senate is believed to be the first state chamber in the country to pass such a resolution, said Bill Wyatt, a spokesman for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
"Many chambers passed resolutions about the war in Iraq, but none that we are aware have called for impeachment," he said.
The resolution says Bush and Cheney's actions in the U.S. and abroad, including in Iraq, "raise serious questions of constitutionality, statutory legality, and abuse of the public trust."
"I think it's going to have a tremendous political effect, a tremendous political effect on public discourse about what to do about this president," said James Leas, a vocal advocate of withdrawing troops from Iraq and impeaching Bush and Cheney.
Vermont lawmakers earlier voted to demand an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq in another non-binding resolution.
Democratic House Speaker Gaye Symington has kept a similar resolution from reaching the floor in her chamber. She argued that an impeachment resolution would be partisan and divisive and that it would distract Washington from efforts to get the United States out of Iraq, which she says is more important.
In the Senate, Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie had opposed the resolution, but he was absent Friday. That left Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin in charge, and he immediately took up the measure.