Republicans are fighting most of President Barack Obama's agenda items and consider his latest action on immigration an unconstitutional abuse of his power in office, but most are stopping short of calling for his impeachment.
"I don't want to make a martyr out of the guy," said Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, reports The Washington Times
"And besides that, every time there is an attempt at impeachment and someone's been impeached, such as [President Bill] Clinton was, then it comes down to expelling him. If that action doesn't take place, everyone thinks he's exonerated.
"I don't want people to think he's exonerated on this. That's what I'm afraid impeachment would lead to."
Republicans also believe impeachment proceedings would actually help Democrats, by rallying them to stand behind the president just when the GOP takes over Congress, and create a backlash while the president is being seen as a victim.
And even though many Republicans agree that Obama's immigration reform order is a violation of the Constitution and he is open to impeachment for rewriting the law on immigration, many agree that it is better to either file legal action against the president or to employ the congressional "power of the purse" and refuse to authorize spending for his agenda items.
"You are going to be in an all-out struggle to block funding, and [if] you're going to be in a dramatic fight to get those votes, then why would you entertain a course of action in which you are going to have no hope of getting those folks," a GOP congressional aide told The Times.
"But if successful, you're actually going to change the outcome of the executive amnesty."
A veto battle may occur if congressional Republicans present Obama with a bill that defunds immigration.
Both overturning a presidential veto and removing a president through impeachment require 67 votes in the Senate, a benchmark that could prove difficult to reach.
Further, impeachment is a "Democratic fantasy,"
House Deputy Majority Whip Tom Cole told MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown" last month.
"The only people I ever hear talk about impeachment are Democrats. And, I think it's always for political purposes," Cole said. "I think this is a Democratic fantasy. And, I certainly don't see it coming to pass."
Impeachment proceedings do not mean the inevitable removal of a president, contrary to what many people believe.
Only two presidents have been impeached in the history of the United States, and neither was removed from office. President Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 for firing the secretary of war, and Clinton was impeached in 1999 for perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
President Richard Nixon resigned his office before impeachment proceedings could begin against him in connection with the Watergate scandal.
To bring impeachment proceedings, the House Judiciary Committee must first approve the articles of impeachment, and send them to the full House for debate. When any of the articles of impeachment pass in a majority vote, that means the president is impeached.
After that, the Senate holds a trial and debates a verdict in private while voting in public, and then it takes a two-third majority, or 67 Senate votes, to remove the president from office.
Even though congressional Republicans are losing their appetite for impeachment, outside conservatives are still sounding the cry, including Donald Trump, who ridicules Democrats for what he calls a ploy of welcoming impeachment proceedings.
"Do you think Obama seriously wants to be impeached and go through what Bill Clinton did?" Trump told Fox News. "It would be an absolute embarrassment. It would go down on his record permanently."
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