House Impeaches Mayorkas In Second Attempt

House Impeaches Mayorkas In Second Attempt

In their second attempt following a failed attempt last week, House Republicans managed on Tuesday to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of the border crisis with the return of Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA).

Members voted 214-213 to approve a resolution that made Mayorkas the first Cabinet secretary to be impeached since 1876. Three GOP lawmakers broke ranks and joined all voting Democrats, same as they did with the first vote last week, including Reps. Ken Buck (R-CO), Tom McClintock (R-CA), and Mike Gallagher (R-WI). Each party had two members who did not vote.

The two passed articles of impeachment, which will now head to the Democrat-controlled Senate, accuse Mayorkas of “willfully and systemically” refusing to comply with federal immigration laws and the other alleged he “breached the public trust” with false statements and obstructing lawful oversight of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

U.S. House Impeaches DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, 214-213.@SpeakerJohnson: “The resolution is adopted.”

— CSPAN (@cspan) February 14, 2024

The sole member who missed the vote last week when the GOP-led House moved to impeach Mayorkas the first time was Scalise — an absence that proved critical. Republican defections, coupled with Rep. Al Green (D-TX) showing up at the last moment to cast his vote in a wheelchair, resulted in a tie that ensured failure. GOP Vice Chairman Blake Moore (R-UT) changed his vote to oppose the resolution, a “procedural” move allowing the House to consider it another time.

Scalise had been out of Washington and working remotely for several weeks to undergo a stem cell transplant for his fight against blood cancer and then recover from the treatment, but he made a return to Capitol Hill this week, giving House Republicans the majority they needed to prevail in their endeavor to impeach Mayorkas.

The vote on Tuesday took place during a special election to replace now-former Rep. George Santos (R-NY), a contest that may give the Democrats another member and further complicate the slim GOP majority’s ability to pursue their priorities. Special elections to fill three other vacancies in the 435- member chamber will follow in the coming weeks and months.

An investigation into Mayorkas began last year as the country grappled with a surge in illegal crossings and fentanyl poisonings fueled by drug trafficking. The impeachment votes played out as a bipartisan Senate deal combining immigration reforms with foreign aid fell apart, renewing debates on how to get a grip on the border crisis.

Democrats panned the impeachment proceedings as a “political stunt” and the White House went as far as to claim the endeavor is “unconstitutional.” Mayorkas pushed back against what he called “false accusations” levied against him. GOP lawmakers who opposed impeachment acknowledged problems with border security, but argued the issues they have with how the Biden administration has managed the crisis boils down to policy differences rather than impeachable offenses.

“I opposed impeaching Mayorkas for the same reasons I opposed the sham impeachments of Donald Trump,” McClintock said last week. “The Constitution reserves impeachment for treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors. Mayorkas is guilty of maladministration, but that is not grounds for impeachment.”

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green (R-TN), who led the investigation into Mayorkas, argued in floor remarks on Tuesday that lawmakers “exhausted all other options,” making impeachment the only recourse left available to lawmakers. “Our oath to the Constitution now requires us to exercise this solemn duty,” he added.


The impeachment push faces long odds in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Still, House Republicans have moved forward with a plan to designate 11 managers with the expectation of a trial — a list that includes Chairman Mark Green and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who last year tried to bypass the committee-level impeachment probe to quickly have a vote.

A statement from the office of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the House impeachment managers “will present the articles of impeachment to the Senate following the state work period,” which ends on Friday, February 23.

The notice added that senators “will be sworn in as jurors in the trial the next day” and Senate President Pro Tempore Patty Murray (D-WA) will preside.

In the middle of a busy election year, House Republicans also are engaged in conducting a corruption-focused impeachment investigation into President Joe Biden that is facing intense pushback from Democrats, as well as the White House.


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