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Vermont Senate: Impeach the President

ROSS SNEYD | April 20, 2007 02:07 PM EST | AP

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MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermont senators voted Friday to call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, saying their actions have raised "serious questions of constitutionality."

The nonbinding resolution was approved 16-9 without debate _ all six Republicans in the chamber at the time and three Democrats voted against it.

Bush and Cheney's actions in the U.S. and abroad, including in Iraq, "raise serious questions of constitutionality, statutory legality, and abuse of the public trust," the resolution reads.

The Vermont Senate is believed to be the first state chamber in the country to pass such a resolution, said Bill Wyatt, a spokesman for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"Many chambers passed resolutions about the war in Iraq, but none that we are aware have called for impeachment," he said.

Advocates were thrilled with the vote.

"I think it's going to have a tremendous political effect, a tremendous political effect on public discourse about what to do about this president," said James Leas, a vocal advocate of withdrawing troops from Iraq and impeaching Bush and Cheney.

Vermont lawmakers earlier voted to demand an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq in another nonbinding resolution.

Democratic House Speaker Gaye Symington has kept a similar resolution from reaching the floor in her chamber. She argued that an impeachment resolution would be partisan and divisive and that it would distract Washington from efforts to get the United States out of Iraq, which she says is more important.

In the Senate, Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie had opposed the resolution, but he was absent Friday. That left Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin in charge, and he immediately took up the measure.

Forty towns voted in favor of similar nonbinding impeachment resolutions at their annual town meetings in March. State lawmakers in Wisconsin and Washington have pushed for similar resolutions.