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Murtha: Impeachment is back on the table
Raw Story
April 30, 2007

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) revised the much publicized statements he made yesterday and told National Public Radio late on Monday afternoon that impeaching President George W. Bush was "on the table."

"I'm just saying that's one of the options that Congress has on the table, I'm getting more and more calls from the public about impeachment," the long-time Congressman, who is a veteran of the US Marines, told NPR's Melissa Block on the program All Things Considered.

Murtha's remark was at variance with Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who has insisted since prior to the Congressional election last year that returned a Democratic majority in the House that impeachment was "off the table."

The Congressman's explanation came after he repeated his statement made on CBS News' Face the Nation yesterday that impeachment was one of four options that can be used to hold a President accountable, in addition to elections, polls, and the Congress's control of the executive branch's budgets. In yesterday's appearance, he refused to say whether impeachment was being contemplated, stating only that it was an option.

Murtha later noted that he didn't think impeachment was appropriate at this time. But he also added, "It's just one of the things that we always consider. That's part of the process. "

The Congressman, who chairs the powerful Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in the House of Representatives, noted that holding the president accountable via the budgetary process was the best option for the Democrats to take at this stage.

"Realistically, obviously the power of the purse is the most powerful influence that the public has, and we have to exert that influence to our utmost ability," he explained.

At the beginning of the interview, Murtha made note of the approach he thought would be best for responding to the President's request for more funds for the Iraq War, after President Bush vetoes the Defense Supplemental bill that Congress will send to him tomorrow.

Calling for two months of funding, he explained to NPR the Congress should fund "operation and maintenance and personnel costs, particularly, for a two-month period. The other things we'd fund for the whole year: the health care, the vehicles that they need, to resist the IEDs. We'd take care of the Walter Reed problem and some of those things for the whole year"

While noting that he wasn't certain that the Democratic leadership in the House would support this approach, he told Block it was time for the President to make the next step forward.

"We've compromised already on two things, so it's time for the president to step up and make some compromises.," the Pennsylvania Democrat argued.

The quotes in this story have been updated to reflect the transcript of the interview, which is now available at NPR's website.

Original Text