BLOOMINGTON — Two Central Illinois congressmen said their constituents want Congress to accomplish things for constituents rather than focusing on an impeachment investigation of Republican President Donald Trump.
U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis of Taylorville and Darin LaHood of Dunlap, both Republicans, spoke on Thursday following the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) outpatient medical clinic in Bloomington.
"What I'm hearing from constituents is they are thankful and glad that we are getting things done like the funding for this VA clinic," said Davis, whose 13th Congressional District includes Macon, Christian, DeWitt and Piatt counties. "Most people are tuning out the screaming and the 24-hour news cycle."
Both congressmen voted no last week on the measure setting the terms of an impeachment inquiry.
"Most of my constituents, I think, are very concerned about going down the path of impeachment," LaHood said. "Impeachment is going to paralyze this country and it will stop us from getting work done."
"I'm glad we're getting to the public stage," Davis said. "I think all transcripts should be released. I don't think transcripts should be selectively released from the most secretive place we have in Congress."
Davis said Democrats are taking a "heavy-handed approach" to the inquiry, arguing that House Democrats are creating a new precedent rather than the process used in three previous presidential impeachment processes.
"That's not the way the American people need to see such a harsh constitutional process like impeachment moving forward," he said, continuing: "It's going to set a standard that politics will be used in the impeachment process and I think that's a tragedy for future generations in this great country."
LaHood, a former federal prosecutor, described impeachment as "the nullification of an election" and a "nuclear option." He said he had not seen information that supports impeachment.
"We are going to have an election in less than a year from right now," LaHood said. "Why let 535 members of Congress decide this when the American people are going to have a say?"
LaHood said he could favor impeachment "when I see treasonous activity and criminal statues being violated. I have seen nothing thus far in the transcript and in the whistleblower's report ... that is the predicate for a criminal violation. There was no quid pro quo there."
"It (impeachment) should be a nuclear option and, again, most people in my district want us to move on and govern," LaHood said.
Contact Paul Swiech at 309-820-3275. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_swiech.
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