GOP begins impeachment delay tactics with motion to adjourn

House Republicans moved quickly Wednesday morning to demonstrate that they won't concede impeachment without a fight.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) offered a motion to adjourn shortly after the chamber gaveled in at 9 a.m., just as the debate on the rule underlying the impeachment articles was set to begin.

"So we can stop wasting America's time on impeachment, I move that the House do now adjourn," Biggs said.


The motion, which ultimately failed in the Democratic-controlled chamber, forced a time-consuming vote designed to delay the process even before it gets off the ground.

Biggs's motion was expected to be the first of several actions Republicans take ahead of the vote in protest of impeachment. 

One senior GOP source said "expect some shenanigans" on the floor throughout the day.

Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: House to vote on .2T stimulus after mad dash to Washington Top GOP post on Oversight draws stiff competition Freshman Dem finds voice in fight against online extremism MORE (R-N.C.), a member of House GOP leadership, said Republicans do not see the actions as a stall tactic. 

"We don't look at it as stalling, we just look at it that we are going to hold the ground until the very end," Walker told The Hill. "It's a sad, in fact I have my funeral attire on today, it's a sad day. It really is, it's not a day to be snarky, this is an abuse of the system."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOn The Money: Infrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens | Trump officials detail new small-business loan program | Outbreak poses threat to mortgage industry Infrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens Trump backs infrastructure bill as next phase of coronavirus relief MORE (R-Calif.) offered another procedural motion directly after the motion to adjourn, a question of privilege, condemning how Democrats handled the impeachment probe. Democrats moved to table the motion. 


That motion took aim at House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffCoronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner Texas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill Schiff: Remote voting would not compromise national security MORE (D-Calif.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse Judiciary Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak House Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol: 'We are the captains of this ship' MORE (D-N.Y.), including language ”Disapproving the manner in which Chairman Adam B. Schiff of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence & Chairman Jerrold Lewis Nadler of the Committee on the Judiciary have conducted committee action during the impeachment inquiry of President Donald John Trump.”

House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScalisePelosi scrambles to secure quick passage of coronavirus aid House GOP whip team seeks to get Republicans behind Senate coronavirus bill 14 things to know today about coronavirus MORE (R-La.) also raised a point of order against the rule for the two articles of impeachment against Trump, arguing the minority did not receive a hearing while proceedings were taking place in the House Judiciary Committee. It was ruled out of order.

And Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneySelf-quarantined New York lawmaker: 'We should be in total lockdown' On The Money: Trump hopes to reopen economy by Easter | GOP senators expect stimulus vote on Wednesday | Democratic leaders forecast at least two more relief bills Trump triggers congressional debate with comments on reopening economy MORE (R-Wyo.), the No. 3 Republican in the House, unsuccessfully pushed for roll call votes to be taken on the articles.

"I ask unanimous consent to amend H.Res. 767, to provide for voting for a manual call of the roll so the American people can see precisely who is -- members should be required to stand and identify themselves openly and on camera on the question of adoption of these articles of impeachment," she said on the floor.

The wrangling comes as House Democrats on Wednesday will take the momentous step of voting to impeach President TrumpDonald John TrumpIllinois governor says state has gotten 10 percent of medical equipments it's requested Biden leads Trump by 6 points in national poll Tesla offers ventilators free of cost to hospitals, Musk says MORE, accusing him of abusing his power and obstructing Congress in his dealings with Ukraine.

Both articles, to be voted on separately, are expected to pass, after a wave of centrist Democrats jumped on board with their support in recent days. But Biggs's motion was some indication that approval won't happen before a long and likely raucous fight on the House floor.

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Rules Committee, said Wednesday morning that Democrats expect Republicans to offer a handful of similar delay tactics, but predicted they would tire of that strategy.

"After that, what's the point?" he said, stepping into the committee room in the Capitol.

The rule governing the debate, passed by Democrats on the Rules Committee Tuesday night, eliminates some of the delay tactics that might have been available to Republicans, but not all of them.

GOP leaders will have the opportunity to slip in motions to adjourn throughout the debate. They can also use another procedural gambit: asking the chair to strike from the congressional record the statements from Democrats.

Under House rules, lawmakers are prohibited from defaming the president or other lawmakers, or calling into question their personal motivations. Statements, the rules say, "shall be confined to the question under debate, avoiding personality."

Yet, in impeaching a president, attacks on the man are almost inherent to the process.


It is yet unclear how frequently Republicans will seek to strike the comments from their Democratic colleagues.

The rule allows six hours of debate on the two impeachment articles, following one hour of debate on the rule itself. But McGovern is anticipating a much longer process.

"I think the seven hours of debate will extend probably to more like 12 hours when it's all said and done," he said Tuesday night.

In a tentative timeline released Wednesday morning by the office of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: White House projects grim death toll from coronavirus | Trump warns of 'painful' weeks ahead | US surpasses China in official virus deaths | CDC says 25 percent of cases never show symptoms 14 things to know for today about coronavirus Hillicon Valley: Trump, telecom executives talk coronavirus response | Pelosi pushes funding for mail-in voting | New York AG wants probe into firing of Amazon worker | Marriott hit by another massive breach MORE (D-Calif.), Democrats predicted the GOP procedural maneuvers would consume roughly an hour of the debate. They forecast smoother sailing afterward, setting up a vote on the final article of impeachment before 8 p.m. 

Updated at 10:55 a.m.