"It wouldn't surprise me if she lost a couple of votes, but she has a couple of votes to lose," said Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., who said he had no doubt impeachment would pass. "This is what she does. Counting votes and being operational is what the speaker does, so that's why I give you an unequivocal, unconditional answer."
Rep. James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., the Democratic whip, said party leaders wouldn't pressure members to fall in line.
"This is a vote of conscience," Clyburn said Friday on CNN. "I think it would be a bit unseemly for us to go out, whipping up a vote on something like this."
Rep. Jefferson Van Drew of New Jersey is one of two Democrats who opposed beginning the inquiry when it came to a vote in October, because he didn't believe the evidence was strong enough to warrant removing a president. Though he is unlikely to support articles, he said he's been surprised by the lack of pressure from Democratic leaders.
"I was ready for it. I fully expected it," he said.
The biggest concern from moderates is that impeachment is sucking all the oxygen away from legislative accomplishments, let alone major bipartisan bills that they can tout at home.
To address that concern, the House will vote this week on a bill aimed at reducing drug prices by giving Medicare new negotiating powers, among other reforms. There is also a focus on getting final approval of the president's proposed deal to update the North American Free Trade Agreement.
And last week the House voted on an issue with wide populist appeal: a bill designed to limit robocalls.
"It may not be like the cosmic issue that will determine the fate of the planet Earth," Malinowski said, "but in terms of (constituents') daily lives, it does feel that way."
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