Denver Rep. DeGette Wields Gavel For Impeachment Vote

Trump Impeachment
Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., the speaker pro tempore, presides as the House of Representatives begins the day for debates the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019.

The dean of Colorado's Congressional delegation has a high-profile role in Wednesday's House impeachment debate. Rep. Diana DeGette is presiding as speaker pro tempore over much of the process.

The Denver Democrat, who is the longest-serving member of Colorado's delegation, said she was honored to be selected by Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the position.

“None of us came to Congress to impeach a president, but every one of us – when we assumed office – took an oath to uphold the constitution," DeGette said. "This is a sad and somber moment in our nation’s history and the responsibility to preside over this important debate is something I will not take lightly.”

As speaker pro tempore, DeGette enforces the rules of the House and presides over the wide variety of votes that will be required today, starting with one that set the actual ground rules for the process.

"She is basically in charge of making sure the trains all run on time," said NPR's Kelsey Snell.

The House Rules Committee set six hours for debate over the two articles of impeachment, which started at about 10 a.m. today. When it concludes, Colorado's delegation will split along party lines: All of the state's Republicans have committed to voting against impeachment, while all of the Democrats say they will vote for it.

This is the 15th time DeGette has presided over the House this year, including earlier debates over whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress and to demand the president release the whistleblower complaint to lawmakers. She has been reviewing the minutia of the House rules with the chamber's parliamentarian in order to prepare for Wednesday's historic proceedings.

DeGette arrived in Congress in 1997 and was there for the last impeachment proceedings. She voted against impeaching articles for then-president Bill Clinton.

This is a developing story and will be updated