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Updated Feb 6, 2024, 7:31pm EST
politics

US Republicans fail to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas testifies during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Nov. 15, 2023, in Washington, D.C.
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The News

The Republican-led effort to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas failed 214 to 216 on Tuesday after three GOP members crossed party lines and voted with Democrats: Representatives Ken Buck from Colorado, Tom McClintock from California, and Mike Gallagher from Wisconsin.

In a dramatic turn, Texas Democrat Al Green showed up at the last minute in a wheelchair to vote against impeaching — surprising Republicans and providing the decisive vote in the process.

Texas Republican Black Moore, the vice chair of the GOP conference, also changed his vote from yes to no in the hopes of trying to impeach Mayorkas again at a later date. Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, who was the lead sponsor of the impeachment resolution, told Semafor that Republicans will bring the vote back to the floor when Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who has been receiving cancer treatment, returns to work.

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“We knew it was going to be close going in, because our majority is so razor thin,” Greene told reporters immediately after the vote. “Of course, my colleagues that voted no, I think there’ll be hearing from their constituents.”

Some Republicans are quietly criticizing leadership and the party’s inability to bring votes to the floor that pass. “Is the Speaker’s office on drugs? Why didn’t Scalise’s office have better insight on the vote count? It’s completely embarrassing how bad Republican leadership is at this,” a GOP source close to the impeachment told Semafor.

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Know More

The House voted whether to impeach Mayorkas for “willfully and systematically” refusing to comply with the laws of Congress and for “breach of public trust” over his alleged failure to crack down on a surge of migrants at the southern border.

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Some Republicans argued impeachment was necessary because crossings had gotten out of control, and drugs like fentanyl were also being trafficked into the country at high rates.

But Rep. Buck argued in an op-ed Monday that while the secretary was failing to do his job, his conduct did not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. Rep. McClintock similarly raised concerns that the resolution “unconstitutionally expands impeachment that someday will bite Republicans.”

The resolution failed as a bipartisan border proposal continues to languish in the Senate, where it has failed to garner enough support from elected officials in key states along the U.S.-Mexico border. “I’m pretty confident we can do better with a new president who actually will enforce the law,” Texas Republican told reporters on Tuesday.

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