Skip Navigation

Pa. lawmakers take to House floor during impeachment debate

During long day of speeches, 11 members of Congress from the Keystone State spoke

  • Russ Walker/PA Post
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks as the House of Representatives debates the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. (House Television via AP)

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks as the House of Representatives debates the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. (House Television via AP)

Of 18 members of the House of Representatives from Pennsylvania, only 11 spoke during Wednesday’s marathon impeachment debate.

Noticeably absent from speaking on the floor were a few lawmakers from “purple” districts. Democrats Conor Lamb and Matt Cartwright voted for both articles of impeachment, but did not speak on the floor. Similarly, Republican Brian Fitzpatrick voted against both, and also didn’t step up to the mic to explain his reasoning.

Below are transcripts for the lawmakers who did speak, with links to video when available. They are presented in the order in which they spoke. (The full debate transcript can be read online):

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-2nd District)

Madam Speaker, this is the fourth impeachment proceeding against an American president and the most serious. The president committed numerous crimes, threatening the national security.

Ultimately, the matter before us today is not a question of fact, for the evidence is undisputed, nor is it a question of law, as the Constitution is clear. The heart of the matter is this: Will Members of this House have the courage to choose fidelity to the Constitution over loyalty to their political party?

For the sake of our Constitution and our country, for Americans today and tomorrow, I urge all Members to summon the courage to uphold the rule of law and vote “yes.” (Video)

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-5th District)

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you, Chairman Nadler, for your leadership, as we navigate this challenging time, not just for our committee and congress, but for our country.

It’s with profound sadness that I stand here today and support these articles of impeachment. President Trump’s behavior is exactly what our Founders feared most. They knew that with the awesome power of the presidency came the risk of a president abusing that power for personal gain. They were particularly concerned about an executive who became entangled with foreign governments, corrupted our elections, or sought to avoid consequences for his own misconducts in office. That is — conduct in office. That’s why they included impeachment in the Constitution to protect our republic.

Our colleagues across the aisle have claimed we’re impeaching the president because we don’t like him, because — but this moment is about more than disagreement with the president’s policies or personality. Those issues belong in the voting booth. Our task here is not to judge the president himself. Instead, we must judge his conduct and whether his actions have undermined our Constitution.

The president has committed the highest of high crimes under our constitution. He used the highest office in our government and taxpayer dollars to pressure a foreign country to interfere in our election. He undermined our national — our elections. He undermined our national security and when he got caught, he tried to cover it up, obstructing our investigation and refusing to give witnesses.

This is not of the people. A government where the president pressures a foreign country to undermine our elections is not by the people. And a government where the president puts his own interests before the country is not for the people.

This isn’t complicated. You know it. I know it. The American people know it. President Trump’s wrongdoing and the urgent threat that his actions present to our next election and our democracy leaves us no principled alternative but to support these articles of impeachment. Our Constitution, our country, and our children depend upon it. I yield back. (Video)

Rep. Dan Meuser (R-9th District)

Madam speaker, back home people refer to Capitol Hill as a bubble. They are right. It’s as if we are completely detached from what’s going on in communities across America. Many here don’t hear or listen to what people are saying. And many here as well think they know better than the people we serve.

Our communities are benefiting greatly from President Trump’s agenda. Booming economy, secure border, better trade deals, stronger military. Unfortunately, inside the halls of Congress, Democrats’ obsession with impeachment is all consuming. Is this how Democrat leadership chooses to represent the people of America? By nullifying the results of the 2016 election? Disregarding the will of the American people and doing everything in their power to prevent the president and this Congress from doing the job we are elected to do?

After three years of trying months of unfair politically motivated impeachment proceedings, Democrats have delivered two weak articles of impeachment. Abuse of power? Not according to the Ukraine. President Zelensky confirmed many times there was no quid pro quo, no action taken, and significant military aid was delivered without anything in return. Of course his words have been conveniently dismissed.

Obstruction of congress? Is this the new standard? If this is the new standard, then every president since Jimmy Carter and every president moving forward would and will be impeached.

Let me be clear. It is an honor to serve in the United States House of Representatives, but today I am distraught. Today Democrats will disregard the will of the American people and vote to impeach the duly elected president of the United States, which would be equally troubling if this has eroded if not wiped out the trust the American people have in the 116th Congress. I yield back. (Video)

Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-4th District)

Madam Speaker, words matter. We have heard many words over the course of these last weeks. Still what strikes me are the words that are missing from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. A gaping hole in this conversation. The words they cannot or will not mouth. Defending a president’s conduct. Conduct that threatens our constitutional order.

And so, speaker, I ask, when is it ever right for a president to coerce a foreign power to interfere in our elections? When is it ever right for a president to intimidate a foreign leader into announcing false investigations into a political rival? When is it ever right for that president to withhold congressionally appropriated aid to that country at the expense of its national security and our very own? And when is it ever right for a president to block a co-equal branch of government from investigating the scheme to cheat an election?

The answer, of course, is never. But that word does not come trippingly from the tongues of those who are making the choice to stand behind a man whose behavior is not worthy of your tortured words. By our vote today we are speaking to future presidents and future generations. We are declaring that we will not tolerate foreign interference in our presidential elections. Americans alone will determine the outcome. We will not permit a president to order the complete defiance of a co-equal branch of government.

And in the end, regardless of the outcome of this impeachment, the president’s tenure will end. And this body and our grandchildren will be left with what we did here today.

Ours is a somber generational duty about love of country and lifting a Constitution to its gravest protections, but it’s highest aspirations. Our democracy is a matter of conscience. By voting to safeguard our Constitution, mine is clear. I thank you, Madam Speaker. Yield back. (Video)

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-14th District)

Thank you. In the Navy we had a saying. Bluff: Bottom line up front. I’ll give you the bottom line. Democrats are terrified that President Trump is going win re-election. They can’t beat him on the merits. So Democrats are caving to their far-left radical base and they’re using the thoughts and the feelings and the assumptions of some unnamed bureaucrats rather than relying on facts and law to impeach a duly elected president.

Let me be clear. This is nothing more than a political hit job. I’ve been on all sides of the courtroom. I was a prosecutor in the Navy, I was a defense attorney in the navy. I was a district judge in my hometown. — my hometown.

Let me tell you, as lawyer I would defend this case every day of the week. As a judge, I would dismiss this on day one for lack of merit. There’s no case here. I’ll tell you who I’d prosecute, though. I would prosecute Adam Schiff for abuse of power. Why? How about the fact that he used his position as chairman to leak phone records of Mr. Nunes. How about the fact that he dumped documents 48 hours before a hearing? That is the abuse of power.

Obstruction — I’d prosecute the Democrats for obstruction. How about the fact that the Judiciary Democrats voted down my request to subpoena the whistleblower? How about the fact that Chairman Nadler refused every single Republican request for a fact witness? That is obstruction of Congress.

So again, let me be clear: Today is nothing more than a political hit job. Thank you, and I yield back. (Video)

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-16th District)

December is such a great month, there are so many great dates in December, we talk about wonderful things that have happened in Decembers in the past. In addition to Christmas being something we celebrate, the Boston Tea Party took place in December but also December 7, 1941, a horrific act happened in the United States, it’s one President Roosevelt said this is a date that will live in infamy.

Today, December 18, 2019, is another date that will live in infamy. When just because you hate the president of the United States, and you can find no other reason other than the fact that you’re so blinded by your hate that you can’t see straight you’ve decided the only way to make sure this president doesn’t get elected again is to impeach him.

On the floor of the people’s house, the bastion of democracy and liberty in the whole world, we have decided that political power is far more important than principle. I would urge all members of the House to vote no on impeachment and to look their voters in the eye and — listen, let me tell you. The voters will remember next November what you’re doing this December.

This is a terrible time, this is a date that will live in infamy. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I yield back. (Video)

Rep. John Joyce (R-13th District)

I rise on this dark day in the United States House of Representatives to voice my opposition to the shameful impeachment process that has occurred in the people’s house.

Some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle do not like President Trump. We know this because they proudly boasted about their intention to impeach our president before he was even sworn into office. Out of disdain for the president and for those of us who elected him, the House of Representatives is considering two articles of impeachment that are so very weak that they even fail to include specific crimes.

The people that I represent in south central and southwestern Pennsylvania know the truth. The American people know the truth. This impeachment circus has never been about the facts. This process has always been about seeking revenge for the president’s election in 2016 and attempting to prevent him from winning again in 2020.

Madam Speaker, I wholeheartedly oppose this partisan and shameful effort to impeach our democratically and duly elected president. For the sake of our nation, I urge my colleagues to join with me and vote no on the articles of impeachment. Thank you. I yield back. (Video)

Rep. Scott Perry (R-10th District)

Since before inauguration, the press and members of this Congress have been for impeachment. Members refuse to attend the inauguration. They called for impeachment. They voted for impeachment. Without any evidence, they voted for impeachment, creating and manufacturing evidence.

Recall and votes of no confidence are not included in our Constitution for a reason. Our system demands evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. If such evidence existed, there would be agreement in this chamber, but there is not. There is not an agreement because there is no evidence.

Madison and Hamilton warned us this might happen, that impeachment would veer toward political factions and that’s exactly what this is. This is bitterly and nakedly partisan. My colleagues on the other side of the aisle have made a mockery of this process and this government. They despise the president are themselves abusing their power.

Madam Speaker, they hope if they repeat them over and over you will believe their charges. Repeating things that aren’t true doesn’t make them true. The call record between the two presidents are clear. President Trump was interested in getting to the bottom of what happened in the 2016 election. He asked the Ukrainians to work with our attorney general. The Ukrainians were already getting the military hardware and they got the aid they desired. These are not high crimes. These are disagreements over foreign aid.

My colleagues are not driven by a quest of facts or truth. They are driven by their partisan, animus, and a timetable. These are the reckless and irresponsible act of elitists in the swamp and they underline the fabric of our republic. I urge a no vote and I yield. (Video)

Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-11th District)

Thank you. Madam speaker, I rise today to ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, how much is the trust of the American people worth? When the American people are dissatisfied with their government, the primary tool that the Constitution gives them to make a change is their vote. And on November 8, 2016, Americans from every part of this nation packed the polls to elect Donald J. Trump to be the president of the United States. The country wanted a disrupter, a fire, a deal maker, a president that would put America first.

But sadly, on that very same day, Democrats had no plan or interest in honoring the vote of the American people. They were going to attempt from day one to delegitimatize this president and ultimately remove him from office. Right after the president was sworn in, The Washington Post wrote, the campaign to impeach President Trump has begun. Even before he took office, a Politico article headline read, “Could Trump be impeached shortly after he takes office?”

So, House Democrats have been planning for this day since January 2017. It’s clear that facts have never mattered to the House Democrats. They never planned to work with the president. Instead they intended only to fulfill their divisive partisan agenda.

Again, I ask, how much is the trust of the American people worth? Because after the vote today, for what you think is a short-term partisan gain, you can be sure that the American people will have lost their trust in our institution. They will have lost their trust in congress and most importantly lost trust their vote counts. (Video)

Rep. Fred Keller (R-12th District)

Thank you. Madam Speaker. Today will forever be remembered as a stain on our republic. These impeachment proceedings are not based upon facts, evidence, reason, or any inappropriate or impeachable actions by our president. Instead, the actions being taken by those favoring impeachment are a product of their disdain for President Trump, his “America First” agenda, and particularly disdain by the other party for the 63 million Americans that elected him as president.

Again, these articles of impeachment are not based on any facts but rather on hearsay, presumptions, innuendo, and feelings. Feelings by Democrats and career bureaucrats that wanted President Trump removed from office since the day he was elected. In defense of the Constitution I urge all members to oppose both articles of impeachment. It is unclear who will judge those voting for impeachment today more harshly, history or voters.

So, I want Democrats voting for impeachment today to know that I’ll be praying for them. From the Gospel of Luke, the 23rd chapter, verse 234: “And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’” Thank you. And I yield back. (Video)

Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-15th District)

Madam Speaker, while this institution should rightfully ensure the law is faithfully executed by the administrative branch, this exercise has shown itself to be the ultimate manipulation of the legislative branch’s oversight powers in order to achieve political gains.

I caution my colleagues, who have placed political expediency ahead of moderation, their votes later today will forever change this institution. Imagine a future where this body utilizes the most severe of its constitutional tools to continually put the opposition party on trial.

Madam Speaker, the American people have elected their representatives to be their voice and vote on matters most important to this country. We must collectively focus on these issues, not on the political impulses of a few. This cannot become the new normal. I will be voting a resounding “no” on these Articles of Impeachment.

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Up Next
Politics & Policy

Would legal weed really bring in half a billion dollars a year? Doing the math on marijuana taxes