Republicans aim to take a second swing at Mayorkas impeachment
By David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives will try again on Tuesday to impeach Democratic President Joe Biden‘s top border official, a week after their first attempt ended in a humiliating legislative defeat for Republican Speaker Mike Johnson.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stands accused by House Republicans of failing to stem record flows of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border, in what Donald Trump views as a top issue in his campaign to unseat Biden in the November presidential election.
Mayorkas has said he does not bear responsibility for the border situation, blaming it instead on a broken U.S. immigration system that Congress has not been able to fix.
His department rejected Republican claims in a statement on Tuesday that described the Republican impeachment effort as an unconstitutional and baseless “stunt” that will only waste time that could be devoted to fixing the border.
Those claims have not dissuaded Republicans from moving forward.
“We will have our full membership back. We will vote on Mayorkas impeachment. It will pass the House,” Republican Representative Byron Donalds said on the social media platform “X.”
But in a narrowly divided chamber, where Republicans hold a slim 219-212 majority, partisan success is still not guaranteed.
Republicans failed to impeach Mayorkas last week in a 214-216 vote, after three party members opposed passage and a fourth changed his vote to “no” to break a tie and ensure that the measure could be brought up again under parliamentary rules.
House Republican leaders now hope they can succeed by at least one vote, with the return of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise this week from cancer treatments.
But the party could suffer other absences as a major winter storm moves up the East Coast, potentially leading to a delay.
Should Tuesday’s vote be delayed, Republicans could face further complications if Democrat Tom Suozzi wins a special congressional election in New York on Tuesday night, and enters Congress in time to compensate for Scalise’s vote.
If an impeachment vote does succeed, the measure would go on to the Democratic-led Senate where it is unlikely to move forward.
Tuesday’s vote comes a week after hardline Republicans in the Senate defeated a bipartisan deal to address border security that would have marked an improvement over current law, according to its supporters, including Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
The bill’s defeat helps keep the border issue alive as a campaign issue for Trump, the dominant Republican White House candidate.
Trump was twice impeached by the House, when Democrats held the majority, and was twice acquitted by the Senate, which was in Republican hands.
House Republicans are currently investigating whether any of Biden’s past behavior before moving into the White House might have constituted a high crime or misdemeanor that could result in impeachment. Some Republicans have said they do not see such evidence yet.
(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Leslie Adler)