House Prepares for a Do-Over Impeachment Vote on Mayorkas. Does GOP Have the Votes This Time?

It comes just one week after a historic embarrassment for Speaker Johnson, whose first impeachment articles fell flat.

AP/Mark Schiefelbein
The homeland security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, arrives for closed-door negotiations on a border security deal at the Capitol. AP/Mark Schiefelbein

The House of Representatives will vote as soon as Tuesday on a repeat effort to impeach the homeland security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, after a first attempt failed when a wheelchair-bound Democratic congressman showed up unexpectedly to vote.

Speaker Johnson has scheduled the do-over vote for Tuesday afternoon. His path to making Mr. Mayorkas the first Cabinet secretary to be impeached in more than 150 years runs through one man — the House majority leader, Steve Scalise, who has been absent from Capitol Hill for months to undergo intensive cancer treatments. 

Mr. Scalise returned to the Capitol on Monday. In a post on X, Mr. Johson announced that Mr. Scalise’s cancer, multiple myeloma, is now in remission. 

“We’re grateful the House will be welcoming back this week my good brother and fellow Louisianan Steve Scalise, who is now in complete remission from cancer,” Mr. Johnson said. “Steve is a fighter and God has answered our prayers. Looking forward to having him back in the trenches this week.”

Mr. Scalise’s absence last Tuesday contributed to the first defeat for the two articles of impeachment that had been drafted against Mr. Mayorkas, whom House Republicans accuse of gross negligence, mendacity, and failure to uphold the law regarding the chaos on the southern border.

The measure was ultimately doomed when Congressman Al Green — a 76-year-old Democrat of Texas — arrived on the House floor at the last minute in a wheelchair wearing just a pair of pants, socks, and a hospital gown. 

Before Mr. Green appeared at that Tuesday vote, 215 members had voted in favor of the articles of impeachment, and 214 members had voted against them. Mr. Green’s surprise appearance tied the vote, 215 to 215, dooming it. A member of the Republican leadership, Congressman Blake Moore, then changed his vote to “no” so that the House could reconsider the articles of impeachment. Resolutions that fail in tie votes cannot be reconsidered by the House. 

Mr. Scalise was the only member of the House who was absent during the first vote. Had he been present, the vote would have been 216 to 215. During that first vote, three Republicans opposed the articles of impeachment — a more moderate senior member, Tom McClintock, and two men who are not running for re-election, Ken Buck and Mike Gallagher. 

Assuming every member is present and voting at this coming impeachment effort, and no one changes their position, then the articles will pass and the process moves to the Senate. 

The two articles of impeachment that were drafted by the House Homeland Security Committee accuse Mr. Mayorkas of willfully failing to enforce the law and lying to Congress. The first article is titled “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and the second article is titled “breach of public trust.”

The first article details several instances where Mr. Mayorkas has allegedly refused to enforce the law and “implemented a catch and release scheme” that allowed for more than seven million illegal crossings since January 2021. 

“Alejandro N. Mayorkas created, re-opened, or expanded a series of categorical parole programs never authorized by Congress for foreign nationals outside of the United States, including for certain Central American minors, Ukrainians, Venezuelans, Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, Colombians, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Hondurans, which enabled hundreds of thousands of inadmissible aliens to enter the United States,” the first article states. 

The second article claims that Mr. Mayorkas has “knowingly made false statements, and knowingly obstructed lawful oversight of the Department of Homeland Security, principally to obfuscate the results of his willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law.”

Should the articles pass the House, it would mark a symbolic victory for House Republicans and Mr. Johnson, but will have no substantive effect on the executive branch, the homeland security department, or Mr. Mayorkas himself. Mr. Mayorkas said at a press conference after the first impeachment vote that even if the House did impeach him, he would not resign. 

The Senate could also dismiss this matter immediately, without even having a trial. The outcome of any trial has already been determined given that Democrats have the majority and there are nowhere near 67 votes for removal. 

One Republican member, Senator Tillis, told the Sun that he believes Senator Schumer would move to table the articles of impeachment, meaning the Senate would never take up the matter or hold a trial. Mr. Tillis said that if Mr. Schumer made that motion, he may vote for it himself because it would just be a “waste of time.”

The New York Sun

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