Impeachment usually represents a punitive act following the commission of a crime, but some are looking to it as a last means of self-defense. At a Tea Party town hall meeting last night Rep. Michael Burgess, R-TX, said impeachment “needs to happen” to stop Barack Obama from inflicting more “damage” on this country.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram claims an attendee “suggested that the House push for impeachment proceedings against President Barack Obama to obstruct the president from pushing his agenda.” Burgess, who represents four counties in northern Texas, responded: “It needs to happen, and I agree with you it would tie things up. No question about that.” He later stood by his comment. “We need to tie things up. The longer we allow the damage to continue unchecked, the worse things are going to be for us.”
The Star-Telegram adds, “Burgess said he wasn’t sure whether the proper charges to bring up articles of impeachment against Obama were there.” Since the reporter does not quote Congressman Burgess nor elaborate on this sentence, it is uncertain whether Burgess said he was not sure Obama had committed an impeachable offense or whether the charges could pass the Democrat-controlled Senate. While there are ample grounds for impeachment, it would take intense citizen pressure to force senators to vote for conviction.
Whatever the circumstances surrounding Burgess’ words, he is part of a significant and growing number of Congressmen willing to see Obama removed from office. Early last month Rep. Tim Scott, R-SC, told the Tea Party group LowCountry 9.12 if Obama invoked the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling, it would be “an impeachable act.” The next day, Texas Republican Pete Olson said Scott is “not a lonely voice” on impeachment. Obama promptly backed off the scheme.
Rep. Trent Franks, R-AZ, became the first sitting Congressman to raise the possibility of impeaching Obama over his refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Justice Department is currently fighting against DOMA in the courts.
A number of Republican presidential candidates are also on board. Newt Gingrich warned Obama about possible impeachment if he refused to defend DOMA. Ron Paul said forthrightly the war in Libya is “an impeachable offense,” although he later sought to distance himself from his statement. Last Monday when a questioner asked Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman if the Libya war is impeachable, Huntsman responded, “I’ll let Congress make that decision.”
Burgess received some flack from the meeting because he was one of only seven Texas Republicans in the House to vote for the debt ceiling deal. He shrewdly warned Retuers news service last week that the plan’s “spending reductions do not go far enough” to satisfy Standard & Poor’s requirements to maintain our AAA credit rating. He also raised concerns over the “Super Congress” the bill establishes.
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