December 19, 1998
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. ---- FALEOMAVAEGA SPEAKS IN OPPOSITION TO
IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT CLINTON
Along with fellow Democratic Members, Congressman Faleomavaega spoke out on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives today against the resolution to impeach President Bill Clinton. The House voted along party lines to send articles of impeachment to the Senate.
The Congressman began his speech by contrasting the current situation with the move to impeach President Nixon twenty-four years ago. "President Nixon directed the FBI and CIA to coverup illegal activity, used the IRS to investigate political enemies, and cheated on his personal income taxes," said Faleomavaega. He went on to say, "Those actions were grave enough that it was expected that more than a two-thirds majority of the Senate would vote to convict. In contrast, the actions taken by President Clinton were of a personal nature and his attempts to save himself and his family from personal embarrassment are not, in my opinion, impeachable."
Democrats had hoped that a motion to censure the President for his actions would be allowed on the floor as an alternative to impeachment, but the Republican leadership refused to make this option available. In his speech, Faleomavaega stated his opinion that, "As a practical matter, a trial in the Senate on articles of impeachment...will likely not result in a conviction by a two-thirds majority vote, as required by the Constitution." The Congressman went on to point out that, "a strongly- worded resolution of censure is a sure punishment which would have greater impact, in current terms and in the future, than this doomed-to-fail effort to remove the President from office."
Faleomavaega also stressed that such a trial would "distract the Nation for months and make it more difficult for the Congress to attend to its legislative duties." Equally troublesome, according to the Congressman, "Such an action at this time lowers the standard for future impeachments and will encourage future Congresses to bring articles of impeachment against future presidents for offenses other than 'high crimes and misdemeanors.'"
The Congressman noted the extremely partisan nature of the debate. "I say to my friends in the majority, and they are my friends, when all of this is over, with blood all over this floor, my friends in the majority will have pounded and hammered some 218 nails into the flesh of this man without even an ounce of blood as a cure." Faleomavaega went on to say, "This is a sad day for our American democracy. Instead of acting according to the highest principles of compromise, consensus and bipartisanship, the American people are witnessing the worst example of how we, as representatives of the people, are acting in a most pathetic, mean-spirited, adversarial, partisan way."
The Congressman concluded his speech, "Mr. Speaker, I submit -- God definitely needs to bless America." The full text of the Congressman's remarks is available on his homepage at: http://www.house.gov/faleomavaega/.
The impeachment process now moves to the U.S. Senate.