Mayorkas impeachment fails in stunning loss for House Republicans
The House on Tuesday failed to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of an influx of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Why it matters: It's a stunning loss for House Republican leadership after some of their members broke away and voted against impeachment.
- The last cabinet secretary to be impeached was War Secretary William Belknap in 1876.
Driving the news: The final tally was 214 votes for and 216 votes against, with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) absent as he recovers from cancer treatment.
- Three Republicans – Reps. Ken Buck (Colo.), Mike Gallagher (Wisc.) and Tom McClintock (Calif.) – had joined all Democrats in voting against impeachment.
- With the vote threatening to end in a tie, a fourth Republican flipped to no, allowing leadership to call for another vote in the future.
The details: The 20-page measure accused Mayorkas of pursuing far more lenient policies around the detention and release of migrants than prescribed by federal law and court rulings and blames him for a surge in border crossings during the Biden administration.
- Mayorkas “has demonstrated he will remain a threat to national and border security … if allowed to remain in office,” it says, and “has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with his duties and the rule of law.”
- Additionally, Mayorkas is alleged to have made false statements to Congress – including by saying in a hearing that the border is “secure” and “closed” – and “obstructed lawful oversight” from Congress and the DHS inspector general.
The other side: In a letter to House Republicans in January, Mayorkas said the "false accusations do not rattle me."
- DHS said that House Republicans have “failed to provide any legitimate Constitutional grounds for impeachment,” calling it an “illegitimate exercise unworthy of the job Members of Congress.”
- The memo accused Republicans of being primarily driven by political motivations, including a desire to “appease their most extreme Members.”