Freshman, Moderate Democrats Weigh An Impeachment Vote In Highly Partisan Times Moderate Democrats are facing one of the most difficult political decisions in their careers. And the stakes couldn't be higher for their freshman class.

On Verge Of Impeachment Vote, First-Term, Moderate Democrats Weigh A Political Risk

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The stage is set for a vote next week by the full House of Representatives on two articles of impeachment against President Trump. The vote is expected to break down along party lines, with most Democrats in the majority voting in favor of impeachment and most if not all Republicans voting against.

In a moment, we'll hear from one of the Democrats in the House leadership, Representative Dan Kildee of Michigan, the party's deputy whip. But there are a few Democrats representing districts where President Trump may have won or where Republicans remain competitive who may feel that this is a particularly tricky vote in light of their own reelection races in 2020. To talk more about this, we're joined now by NPR congressional reporter Claudia Grisales.

Claudia, welcome.

CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Hi there.

MARTIN: Are Democrats in districts where the president is popular or where Republicans are competitive feeling pressure from Democratic leaders to vote for impeachment?

GRISALES: I'm hearing from these moderates that they aren't feeling pressure from their own party leaders. But there is pressure from voters and even Republicans hoping for Democratic defections. One of those moderates, freshman Representative Anthony Brindisi of New York, said he has not gotten, quote, "one ounce of pressure from these leaders." But he's approaching this with a certain gravity, taking time to reread evidence from the inquiry. Let's take a listen.

ANTHONY BRINDISI: There's been a lot on the plate this week, and this weekend, I'm going to take some time and deliberate and look at the articles and make a decision.

GRISALES: Now, that's a departure from Republicans, who have said they are whipping this vote and predicting zero defections. That said, we are expecting the vast majority of Democrats to vote for impeachment and approve these two articles against President Trump. And this is despite the pressure they may be feeling from voters, some on one side saying they want to see this president impeached. However, these are conservative districts for Democrats. And another side is saying, we don't think impeachment is necessary.

MARTIN: So it is accurate to say - isn't it? - that Nancy Pelosi is speaker in part because of support from these Democrats who flipped districts in 2018. That's right, right?

GRISALES: Correct.

MARTIN: OK. So what are they saying about impeachment?

GRISALES: In some ways, they are echoing Speaker Pelosi's words. It's a somber moment in our country, and they are approaching the decision with the seriousness that it requires. Some, like Representative Brindisi, are taking that additional time to make a decision. But there are others who have already announced they are voting for impeachment, political risks what they may be. I spoke to Representative Susan Wild of Pennsylvania. She flipped her district blue last year, and she says she's a yes. Let's take a listen.

SUSAN WILD: It's very, very important for everyone to understand that nobody in this country, especially those of us in government and the president, are not above the law.

GRISALES: She's one of the few moderates who have publicly stepped out already to say they support this inquiry and will vote for impeachment. Another is Representative Elaine Luria, a freshman representative, who is a military veteran. She's also a yes. Others have put off the decision to later this weekend or Monday. But we're still expecting a lot of these moderates to join Wild and Luria in votes approving the articles of impeachment.

MARTIN: Claudia, before we let you go, it looks as though the impeachment vote could come to the House floor Wednesday. What are some of these members doing until then?

GRISALES: Well, they're are going to be preparing for a very busy week on the House floor. Over the last few weeks and months, an argument that these Democrats have made is that they can walk and chew gum, and now they're saying we can walk, chew gum, run and do cartwheels, and we're going to show you we can do that this week.

They're preparing for votes on spending to keep the government's lights on. They're facing a deadline on Friday. If they don't meet that deadline, we'll have another government shutdown before us. And then that impeachment vote will be sandwiched between another vote on trade. This is a very difficult agreement that Democrats reached with Republicans to set new standards for workers in the agreement of trade between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

MARTIN: That was NPR congressional reporter Claudia Grisales.

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