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Understanding the Process and Timeline for Impeachment Proceedings

Understanding the Process and Timeline for Impeachment Proceedings

Written by: Megan Grieg, NACHC Federal Affairs

As of Tuesday, Congress has returned to Capitol Hill after a brief fall recess with a crowded agenda and a long list of priorities. Sitting at the top of this list is the continuation of impeachment proceedings, which promises to consume a great deal of time on the Congressional calendar moving forward. Congress has only begun the process of impeachment in three other instances in the history of the United States, which makes this a rare event that will likely last through the remainder of the year and possibly into next year. While there are general precedents for how impeachment should take place, each past investigation was tailored to the circumstances of Congress’ case against each president – and we expect that to be the case this time around as well.

With this in mind, we wanted to provide a brief overview of what we know so far about the projected timeline for the impeachment process with the understanding that this is likely to change as this process unfolds. Here’s what you can expect in the coming weeks as the House continues its investigation:

Public Intelligence Committee Hearings

Although private hearings have taken place since the House’s formal inquiry was launched in late September of 2019, this week marks the beginning of public impeachment hearings held by the House Intelligence Committee. These hearings are scheduled to take place throughout the next two weeks and will be available to the public here.

Committee Report and Recommendations

When the House Intelligence Committee completes its series of public hearings, they will then be tasked with writing a report to be reviewed by the House Judiciary Committee. This report will feature the Intelligence Committee’s findings from the hearings, as well as any recommendations from the Committee for any possible articles of impeachment.

Judiciary Committee Hearings

House leadership has also indicated that the House Judiciary Committee will hold hearings of its own, which the president and his counsel will be authorized to attend and will be given the opportunity to respond to presented evidence and cross-examine potential witnesses. Input from these hearings will be added to the information gathered by the House Intelligence Committee, and the Judiciary Committee will use the reports from both Committees to determine if there is enough information to write any articles of impeachment.

Judiciary Committee Vote

Once the House Judiciary Committee has observed all evidence brought forward through the hearings, they will determine which articles of impeachment should be written up. Once language for possible articles is agreed upon, the Judiciary Committee will vote on each potential article individually. Each article which is approved by the committee will be sent to the Full House for a vote.

Full House Vote

In order for an article to be approved to impeach the president, it must receive a simple majority from the house. If any of the articles sent forth receives this simple majority, the president is impeached and the case is sent to the Senate, where leadership will decide whether to hold a hearing for removal from office.

Senate Trial

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that if the House of Representatives votes to impeach the president, he will agree to hold a trial in the Senate. This being said, in order for the president to be removed from office, the Senate must vote to “convict” the president of impeachment. A supermajority of 67 senators is required in order to convict the president, which is unlikely given the large majority held by Republicans in the Senate.

This process promises to be complicated and time-consuming, but Congress’ involvement in these proceedings does not mean that the duty of Members to work out a budgetary agreement and secure funding for health center programs is any less important. It is essential – perhaps now more than ever – for our advocates to let their Members of Congress know why health center funding needs the full attention of their Senators and Representatives. We must keep pushing to be heard above a crowded congressional agenda, knowing that showing support for health centers is something every Member of Congress can do to demonstrate their commitment to the health and well-being of every American.

For more information on the impeachment process, articles are available here and here.