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Pelosi Announces Trump Impeachment Probe: Is the 2019 Policy Agenda Kaput?

Yuval Rosenberg

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday afternoon announced a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump amid reports that Trump may have pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his family, a potential 2020 election opponent.

“The actions of the Trump presidency have revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi said. “Therefore, today, I am announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”

Trump on Twitter called the announcement “more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage” and “PRESIDENTIAL HARRASSMENT!”

Leaving aside the massive political implications, here’s one take on how the move could change the landscape for legislative progress ahead of the 2020 elections, via analyst Chris Krueger of the Cowen Washington Research Group:

“There are two competing interpretations of how impeachment will influence legislation: 1) impeachment moving forward freezes all legislative progress and all cooperation, and; 2) to inoculate vulnerable House Democrats from the "Do Nothing" talking-point, Speaker Pelosi will move a few bipartisan bills...probably led by USMCA. Perhaps Pelosi will schedule a vote on USMCA this year, but that strikes us as a political bridge too far...ratify Trump's signature trade achievement while calling for his impeachment?

Krueger notes that the outlook for the other major piece of potential legislation — a bill to lower prescription drug prices — is similar to that of Trump’s trade deal with Mexico and Canada. “If you believe in the second interpretation (Pelosi will pass at least one thing for her vulnerable members), drug pricing could get done,” he writes, “but we are very skeptical.”

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