How Disruptive is an Impeachment?

This is more of a general knowledge question, although I think that most people will have opinions rather than fact based answers. How much does an impeachment impede Congress from working on other things? I’ve got a paradigm that Congressmen and their staffs have finite time and resources. So let’s say in a legislative year, a Congress wants to pass a budget, 10 major pieces of legislation, and 50 minor pieces of legislations. Throw in an impeachment and they’re reduced to passing the budget, 8 major pieces of legislation and 40 minor pieces of legislation. Is my paradigm somewhat accurate, or is Congress able to “buy” resources to use for the time taken up by the impeachment, or use slack to make up for that time?

A lot of people have the misconception that all of Congress is working on each bill (or an impeachment). It’s just a few members (but mostly their staffers - 15,000+ of them) that do this. The rest only need to vote.

Well you know that’s not true; posturing and making bombastic proclamations on various media platforms also takes time and effort. That’s an important part of the impeachment process for legislators!

Not necessarily. They could be arguing in their spare time.

Nonsense! Nobody would take up arguing as a hobby!

(…He argues on a discussion board late one Saturday evening before going to bed…)

Also fundraising.

That would be “Most importantly, fundraising.”

I feel the OP is making a valid point. I feel that the resources that are spent on impeaching Trump represent resources that won’t be spent on some other cause which will have more long-term benefits.

But there aren’t that many resources expended for a quicky impeachment. Composing a one paragraph article and a couple hours of speeches, and presenting video of Trump inciting a mob will take less than 100 man hours. It may distract from other business, but it’s not using any significant quantity of labor or resources needed for that other business.

As for the trial side of this, the lame duck Senate isn’t doing anything but going home to fundraise until the Inauguration. They think that’s more important than preparing for the barrage of confirmation hearings necessary when a new president takes office.

You also have to weigh in the long term benefits of making it clear that future Presidents will have serious consequences if they try something like this in the future. Regardless of whether the Senate will vote to convict there are benefits to setting a precedent.

Your paradigm is inaccurate.

While in certain circumstances time could be a limiting factor in what business congress could take up, the current state of affairs is nowhere near those circumstances.

There are hundreds of bills passed with bipartisan support that are sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk. The House had time to pass these these bills and the Senate does too. They just don’t want to and time isn’t really a factor in that decision.

If the House passing a bill of impeachment and then the Senate voting down the actual impeachment is a good message to send, then we’ve sent it.

Not as disruptive as a coup.

How little time and energy need be diverted, theoretically? Not very much.

How much as been in real world applications and would be in the case of a Trump impeachment?

The first clause has a fact based answer and while the numbers can be found it is a lot. The second is speculative. Hard though to imagine a quick show trial. And as important as I believe it is to convict him of impeachment, I do believe a rushed trial sets a worse precedent than no impeachment at all.

Ooh, this could actually be pretty great strategy for the Democrats. Since Trump will be out of office before a Senate trial could begin anyway, it doesn’t really matter when they send over the impeachment articles. Meanwhile, they can use this as leverage on Senate Republicans not to obstruct Biden nominees. “Oh, you’re going to throw up roadblocks to these nominations? Let’s force you to have a trial and vote on Trump just when you’re trying to turn the corner from his administration.”