House Democrats will vote on two articles of impeachment on Wednesday — and while a small set of moderates are expected to defect, the caucus is looking relatively united.
The House vote will center on two articles the House Judiciary Committee passed Friday. Both are effectively “charges” that are being levied against President Donald Trump, and they focus on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
At this point, there’s strong backing for both articles across the Democratic caucus — though a handful of lawmakers are expected to defect, much like Reps. Jeff Van Drew (NJ) and Collin Peterson (MN) did when they bucked the party on an impeachment resolution earlier this year. Van Drew went even further this week, per reports he plans to switch to the Republican Party to help him weather a tough reelection race and avoid a possibly competitive Democratic primary.
As the rules go, Democrats will need a simple majority in order to pass both articles of impeachment. Since the House currently has 431 members, the party will have to secure 216 votes. If the 233 Democrats in the House mostly vote in favor, they’ll have the numbers required to impeach the president.
“I think the caucus is overwhelmingly unified, that doesn’t make it unanimous,” Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) told Vox last week. “I think the overwhelming sentiment is that this is serious, that this is a complete abuse of power.”
Van Drew hypothesized to reporters last week that he and Peterson could be among a small group of no more than five Democrats who’ll go against the party. Of course, that group will get a little smaller when Van Drew becomes a Republican. As a Politico report detailed last week, there was a contingent of roughly 10 moderates who’d floated the idea of censuring Trump instead of impeaching him — but that effort has since fizzled.
Late last week and this weekend, a number of moderate Democrats including Reps. Elaine Luria (D-VA), Elissa Slotkin (MI), Jason Crow (CO), and Max Rose (NY) have said they’d vote for impeachment.