House Democrats are planning to use a special procedural tool this week to force the GOP majority to vote on a bill to establish an outside, independent commission to investigate President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.
The use of the discharge petition, which requires only a simply majority to pass, can enable a minority party to force a vote on a bill that the majority is blocking from the floor. But the move is unlikely to succeed, because Democrats would need more than a dozen Republicans to join them in order to secure such a vote against leadership’s wishes. But it is one of several procedural tools Democrats are using to call attention to Republicans’ muted response to President Donald Trump’s shocking decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.
The bill, co-sponsored by Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has languished in committee since it was introduced last December. It gained new life last week, when Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) backed the call for an independent commission following Comey’s ouster .
Amash is one of just two Republicans co-sponsoring the bill, along with Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). Nearly 200 Democrats have signed on.
In announcing the attempt to move the bill Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote: “The question remains: what do the Russians have on President Trump financially, politically and personally that he and Republicans in Congress want to hide?”