The World-Herald’s Washington Bureau rounds up news highlights from Capitol Hill and beyond.
WASHINGTON — Articles of impeachment are being drafted.
It was another historic week in the nation’s capital as House Democrats pressed forward on what would be only the third impeachment of a U.S. president.
Democrats in purple or red parts of the country, including Nebraska and Iowa, are staking out individual approaches to the issue, with some more wary of the process than others.
Many of their most ardent supporters say Republicans should be the ones worried about 2020 given President Donald Trump’s conduct.
But so far, Midlands House Republicans have stood solidly with Trump in rejecting impeachment.
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In other news:
Clock ticking on trade deal
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, suggested to reporters Wednesday that the new North American trade deal known as USMCA needed to be finalized by the end of the week.
Spoiler alert: It wasn’t.
And as the week came to a close, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., issued a press release expressing frustration at the different signals from House leaders on when a vote will come.
“House Democrats play more red light, green light than kindergartners, but this isn’t a game to our farmers and ranchers,” Sasse said. “Enough is enough. It’s time for Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats to just schedule the vote.”
The trade pact enjoys significant bipartisan support, and the fact that it hasn’t moved forward is worrying some of those Democrats in swing districts.
Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, for example, has been urging her party’s leaders to take action on the deal, noting the few legislative days that remain in 2019.
“Modernizing our trade agreement with our two closest neighbors is critical to ensuring market stability for Iowans,” Axne wrote to them recently.
The House on Friday approved legislation that would restore key provisions of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act providing federal oversight of state election rules.
A 2013 Supreme Court ruling struck down those provisions on the rationale that they needed to be updated with contemporary information.
Democrats said the legislation approved Friday would do that, thereby restoring key safeguards against racial discrimination in voting.
And they cited voting laws passed by a number of states since that 2013 court decision as proof that those protections are needed.
The 228-187 vote fell almost exclusively along party lines, with only one Republican supporting it.
Axne supported the legislation. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, voted against it — as did Nebraska’s all-Republican House delegation.
Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., characterized the measure as a federal intrusion into state business.
“Nebraska doesn’t need to be micromanaged by Washington,” Bacon said. “Nebraska runs its elections, I think, very well.”