House Democrat pushes back against concerns that impeachment inquiry could spark political backlash

Rep. Brad SchneiderBradley (Brad) Scott SchneiderHarris, Castro introduce resolution condemning Trump aide Stephen Miller Palestinians face shrinking options with Trump peace plan Illinois lawmaker latest to endorse Biden for president MORE (D-Ill.) on Wednesday pushed back against concerns that the impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Congress eyes billion to billion to combat coronavirus Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary MORE could drown out key issues in next year’s elections and spark political backlash against Democrats.

“We can do what we have to with respect to the impeachment inquiry, while at the same time focusing on the important legislation that lays ahead of us,” Schneider, who sits on House Ways and Means Committee, told Hill.TV.

Schneider acknowledged that the House still has a number of bills on the docket, adding, however, that lawmakers in the lower chamber have already passed more than 200 pieces of legislation that are now waiting action in the Senate.

Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Energy: Murkowski, Manchin unveil major energy bill | Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency's budget | GOP lawmaker accuses Trump officials of 'playing politics' over Yucca Mountain Lawmakers race to pass emergency coronavirus funding Trump upends controversial surveillance fight MORE has described himself as the ‘grim reaper’ sending all those bills to the legislative graveyard — I think American people want the Senate to join with the members of the House and to work for our communities, for the American people to move legislation forward,” he told Hill.TV, referring to the Senate majority leader.

Schneider’s comments come as a number of Senate Democrats representing red states have expressed concern that impeachment could drag on, and take the focus off of key issues such as the need to make a budget deal to keep the government open.

Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who is running for reelection in a state that Trump won by a landslide in 2016, has warned, for example, that impeachment proceedings could potentially stymie negotiations on a new trade deal known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

However, the Alabama Democrat maintained that the potential implications of Trump’s communications with Ukraine outweigh politics.

“Don’t ask me whether or not this is going to affect my election in 2020,” Jones said on the Senate floor last Thursday. "Don’t ask me if it’s going to affect Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary Sanders holds 13-point lead in Fox News poll MORE or Donald Trump. Ask me what is going to happen to the Constitution.”

House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry last week in light of a whistleblower’s complaint alleging that Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden and the former vice president's son.

Support for impeachment has hit an all-time high in light of the whistleblower's complaint. 

According to a Politico/Morning Consult survey released on Wednesday, 46 percent of voters back Congress starting impeachment proceedings, compared to 43 percent who say it should not. 

—Tess Bonn