Nov 29, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: GOP hesitance to impeach Mayorkas persists

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is forcing another vote on impeaching Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas this week — but some Republicans who voted against it last time plan to do so again, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The measure risks a second defeat on the House floor given House Republicans' narrow majority.

Driving the news: Greene took to the House floor on Wednesday to make what is known as a "privileged" motion on her impeachment resolution, forcing a vote by the end of the week.

  • The seven-page measure accuses Mayorkas of violating a federal law requiring DHS secretaries to maintain "operational control" of the U.S.-Mexico border and a clause of the Constitution requiring the federal government to protect states from "invasion."

The backdrop: Greene forced a vote on impeaching Mayorkas before the Thanksgiving recess, but it failed after eight Republicans voted for a Democratic motion to refer it to the Homeland Security Committee.

  • Several of the GOP lawmakers made the case that the panel should complete its investigation into Mayorkas before the House votes.
  • Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) said Mayorkas is guilty of "maladministration, malfeasance, and neglect of duties," but argued: "These are not impeachable offenses."

What we're hearing: Asked if he plans to stick by his vote against impeaching Mayorkas, Rep. John Duarte (R-Calif.) told Axios: "Yes."

  • Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), a vocal skeptic of Republicans' impeachment efforts into President Biden and his officials, will "likely oppose" the measure again, his spokesperson told Axios.
  • Spokespeople for the other six Republicans did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

What they're saying: "The eight Republicans that voted with the Democrats ... found out from their districts that they made the wrong move," Greene told reporters after making her motion on Wednesday.

  • Greene said she hasn't spoken to any of the eight Republicans since the last impeachment vote, but said their "phone lines were overwhelmed" by voters supportive of impeachment.

The other side: A DHS spokesperson said ahead of Greene's last effort to impeach Mayorkas, "Policy differences are not grounds for impeachment."

  • "Instead of leveling baseless attacks, Members of Congress should do their job by coming to the table and finding real solutions to secure our border."

Between the lines: A one-time leadership antagonist who drifted into the establishment fold under former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Greene appears to be reclaiming her renegade status under newly elected Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.).

  • Asked if she has spoken to Johnson about her efforts to impeach Mayorkas, Greene said "not much at all" and argued it "should be a priority for him ... [like] it was under Speaker McCarthy."
  • "I'll just keep reintroducing it," Greene added.

What we're watching: House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) said the impeachment resolution, as well as a separate effort to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), could be considered on the House floor as soon as tomorrow.

  • Both measures are more likely to be voted on by the House on Friday, however, with Republican leaders saying there is more important work to be done on Thursday.
  • Clark said Democrats are expected to again introduce a motion to refer the measure to the Homeland Security Committee.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Rep. Katherine Clark is the House minority whip, not minority leader.

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