Jose Luis Magana/AP
House Republicans failed to pass articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, scuttling an effort that was widely seen as an opportunity to fulfill a key promise to rank-and-file voters of the GOP.
The vote stalled for several minutes as leaders jostled, but in the end, four Republicans voted against the measure and the final vote was 214-216.
Republicans immediately decided to put the resolution to another vote. But it’s unclear when or if that will eventually happen. Republican leader Steve Scalise was absent and is expected to return to the Capitol this month.
Both articles accused Mayorkas of “deliberate and systemic refusal to comply with the law” in enforcing border policy and “breach of public trust.”
The Republican base and conservative media figures called for the impeachment of several Biden administration officials — including Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland and President Biden himself — after the party took back the House mid-term. term in 2022.
Republicans have focused on investigations and oversight to meet the demands of their base in a divided Congress where a Democratic-controlled Senate can overturn any partisan bill sent by the House. But with a razor-thin majority, Republicans were unable to unite their conference and maintain a majority on the Mayorka impeachment measure.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday morning, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said the chamber did not make the decision “lightly.” He accused Mayorkas of failing to enforce federal law “blatantly, openly, willfully and without remorse.”
“It’s an extreme measure, but extreme times call for extreme measures,” Johnson said.
Rep. Tom McClintock, one of the Republicans who voted against impeachment, said on the House floor Tuesday that “Secretary of State Mayorkas is guilty of misadministering our immigration laws on a cosmic scale.” But we know that this is not grounds for impeachment because the American Founders specifically rejected it.
“They didn't want political conflicts to turn into impeachments, because that would break the separation of powers that vests law enforcement in the president — no matter how bad a job he does,” said McClintock, R-Calif. .
The failure came as a bipartisan deal to strengthen border security collapsed in the Senate.