The Vermont State Senate has passed a resolution calling on the United States Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney.
Until recently, Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin (D) had been blocking the effort to bring the resolution to the floor, despite heavy pressure from citizen activists. Shumlin's reasoning shifted over several weeks from the need to maintain professional comity with Vermont House Speaker Gaye Symington (D), who opposes the resolution, to an insistence that such a measure had to start in the House, to the lack of time remaining in the legislative session.
In the end, thanks to the incredible efforts of Vermont activists, Symington signaled that she didn't care what the Senate did, the legislative counsel's office cleared up Shumlin's (somewhat suspect) procedural mistake, and the Senate ended up passing the resolution in just five minutes, by a vote of 16-9:
"I was deeply moved by the meeting on Tuesday and I’ve been a supporter of this consistently from the beginning," said Shumlin. "There hasn’t been a president of the United States of America who has worked harder for impeachment hearings than Pres. Bush, and Vice Pres. Cheney."
After Tuesday’s meeting, Shumlin said he read, and listened to, news reports and didn’t like what he heard.
"I didn’t like myself and I wanted to find a way to fix it," said Shumlin. "The neat thing about the Vermont Legislature is that we listen to citizens."
Congratulations and thanks for a brave stand go out to Vermont activists. And at long last, thanks are able to go to Peter Shumlin, too.
Next hurdle: The opposition of House Speaker Gaye Symington (D).
UPDATE: Vermonters, contact your state representatives! They need to hear from you, and they need to know that they, like the Senate, can pass this bill in five minutes.