How the Congress Handles Impeachment

There are several ways that impeachment can be initiated. Local governments can, for eample, send a petition to Congress asking for impeachment.

Whether the charges come from a Member of Congress, or from a city, county or state, they will eventually end up in the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives. Here are the steps that follow:

  1. The House Judiciary Committee considers the charges and might adopt a resolution to conduct an inquiry.
  2. The resolution is then sent from the Judiciary Committee to the House floor for a vote as a "question of privilege".
  3. House of Representatives votes and might pass the resolution by a majority vote.
  4. The House Judiciary Committee then conducts the inquiry or investigation into the crimes.
  5. The House Judiciary Committee might approve Articles of Impeachment by a majority vote.
  6. The House of Representative then debates each article and might pass at least one with a 50.5% majority vote. The President is now officially "impeached".
  7. The Senate then conducts a trial and might convict with a 2/3 majority of those Senators present.
  8. The convicted officer is then removed from office.


According to the Jefferson Manual LIII, Section 604, resolutions that call for impeachment, or call for an investigations that suggests impeachment may be an end, are considered "privileged" and must be addressed before other business.