minority

‘Shooting with real bullets,’ Democrats change tune on impeachment vote
Rep. Al Green prepared to force third vote on impeaching Trump but has lost some support

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., left, said she now agrees with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., that Democrats should not go down the path of impeaching President Donald Trump after supporting two efforts to bring articles of impeachment to a vote last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

An intransigent proponent of impeaching President Donald Trump plans to force his Democratic colleagues to go on record on the issue again this year — after twice doing so last Congress. But the vote tally may look a lot different than in 2017 and 2018 when roughly five dozen Democrats wanted to debate and vote on impeachment.

Democrats, then in the minority, were eager for any forum to debate the president’s alleged crimes since Republicans weren’t investigating them. But now that they’re in the majority and have multiple congressional committees probing Trump, most Democrats want to avoid rushing to judgement or action.

House Democrats show improved response to Republican messaging votes
Democrats easily defeated a Republican motion to recommit Friday to their HR 1 government overhaul

Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., center, had voted for several Republican motions to recommit this year but he argued against the one the GOP offered to HR 1 Friday, calling it a “joke.” Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., right, meanwhile was one of six Democrats who voted with Republicans on that motion. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats seem to have sharpened their response to Republican motions to recommit after the GOP twice bested the new majority using the procedural tool this year.

The improved messaging and whip operations around motions to recommit, or MTRs, since Democrats lost a second one early last week on a priority gun control bill seem to have quelled an immediate desire to overhaul the procedural tool.

Most House Democrats Will Be in Majority for First Time Ever
In contrast, most House Republicans have never been in the minority

New York Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Grace Meng have never served in the majority, with both first elected in 2012. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Most House Democrats in the next Congress will be new to the majority and an overwhelming majority of Republicans will be new to the minority — a dynamic that could create a steep learning curve for members as they grapple with party strategy and messaging changes under the new power structure.

Even more significant is that a majority of leadership candidates for both parties have not served in a Democrat-led House.

Minority Party Makes a Major Shift in House
Democrats have elevated their messaging, raised their voices on key issues

From left, Reps. Paul Tonko, James E. Clyburn, John Lewis, Joseph Crowley and Nancy Pelosi sing "We Shall Overcome" with demonstrators on the East Front of the Capitol after the House Democrats' sit-in ended Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

"Emboldened."   

That was how House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi described the mood as her Democratic colleagues staged a sit-in  Wednesday on the House floor to call for a vote on gun control. Democrats left the chamber Thursday, nearly 26 hours later, still showing signs of that boldness.