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Republican bid to impeach Biden border official fails in US House

Published 02/06/2024, 06:14 AM
Updated 02/07/2024, 04:25 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas takes his seat to testify before a Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on the department's budget request on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 26,

By Richard Cowan and David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. House of Representatives delivered a blow to Republican Speaker Mike Johnson when it voted on Tuesday against impeaching Democratic President Joe Biden's top border official.

In a 214-216 vote, the Republican-controlled House blocked a committee's impeachment charges against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Four Republicans bucked their leadership, joining Democrats in opposing the charges against Mayorkas, a Cabinet member.

Partisan fighting over immigration has escalated ahead of the presidential election in November. After the failed impeachment vote, Republicans said they would try again.

"House Republicans fully intend to bring Articles of Impeachment against Secretary Mayorkas back to the floor when we have the votes for passage," Raj Shah, Johnson's spokesman, said in a tweet on X.

Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Mia Ehrenberg said in a statement that House Republicans should "abandon these political games" and instead "get DHS the (border) enforcement resources we need."

Nevertheless, far-right House Republican rhetoric remained fiery. "Everyone who voted against impeaching Mayorkas owns everything that happens as a result of our wide open border - every rape, every murder, every drug overdose, everything," said Representative Lauren Boebert in a social media post.

Republican Representative Mike Simpson predicted that his leaders would arrange a second vote on Mayorkas once House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who has been receiving treatment for cancer, returns from sick leave.

Scalise's office did not say when he plans to return to work.

Several Republicans, including Simpson, said the failed vote would have no bearing on their party's investigations of Democratic President Joe Biden.

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The senior Democrat on the House Homeland Security, Representative Bennie Thompson, said in an interview that the vote was indicative of Republicans "not understanding the gravity of what impeachment is all about."

The House already was investigating whether any of Biden's past behavior before moving into the White House might have constituted a high crime or misdemeanor. But even some Republicans have said they do not see such evidence yet.

Democrats view the effort as retribution for having twice led impeachments against Republican former President Donald Trump.

Earlier, Senate Republicans appeared to have killed a bipartisan border security deal.

The measure was an effort to solve the very border security problems that they wanted Mayorkas to stop, including record numbers of people entering the country illegally at the southern border with Mexico.

Biden, speaking at the White House, laid the blame on Trump, who is expected to face Biden in a rematch in the November presidential election. "All indications are this bill won't even move forward to the Senate floor. Why? The simple reason: Donald Trump. Because Donald Trump thinks it's bad for him politically," Biden said.

Republican senators have lined up against the $118 billion measure, which includes new military aid for Ukraine and Israel, prompting Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to conclude that the effort would fail.

Some Republicans said the bill failed to effectively deal with the heavy flow of migrants at the border, with criticism beginning almost immediately after the complex bill was unveiled.

"It looks to me, and to most of our members, as if we have no real chance here to make a law," McConnell said at a news conference.

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Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to push ahead with plans for a Wednesday procedural vote on the bill, knowing it was unlikely to succeed.

Polls show that immigration has become a top concern for voters as Trump prepares for a likely November rematch with Biden.

Johnson has said that if the Senate passes it, the bill would be "dead on arrival" in the House.

IMPEACHMENT VOTE

The House Homeland Security Committee last week approved two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas, a near-unprecedented step to take against a member of a president's cabinet over a policy dispute.

That had happened only once before in U.S. history, in 1876 when a war secretary was impeached on charges of criminal misconduct.

Republican Representative Tom McClintock said the investigation into Mayorkas had failed to "identify an impeachable crime," and fellow Republican Representative Ken Buck made a similar statement on Monday.

While McClintock during debate said, "Secretary Mayorkas is guilty of maladministration of our immigration laws on a cosmic scale," he added that the Constitution does not intend impeachment to be used as a weapon in "political disputes."

House Republicans allege that Mayorkas was intentionally lax in securing the long border with Mexico and violated the public trust by making false statements to Congress.

Around 2 million migrants were arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal 2023.

Mayorkas has denied any wrongdoing and has defended his tenure.

Democratic Representative Richard Neal said it was a mistake for Johnson to bring the Mayorkas impeachment to the floor without first nailing down enough votes, especially given all of the Republican party's troubles with revolts over the past year.

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“When there’s a stop sign, they don’t stop," Neal said.

Democrats and some legal experts have said the impeachment charges fell well short of evidence of "high crimes and misdemeanors" under the Constitution's impeachment requirement.

Latest comments

with Donald Trump in Jail before the presidential election in November it will be interesting to see the costs for the MAGA nuts seats in congress both in senate and the House, that have totally lost their spine and integrity and placed their future in Trumps hands.
Forget impeachment.  Use the Holman Rule to cancel his paycheck, and fire him, by defining his job away.
I like the fact that Biden blamed Trump for this as well. Just blame Trump for everything. Very convenient.
Are you paying attention to anything other than Troth Central? Trump submarined a bipartisan deal, then took credit for it.
It's not easy bringing down Demons.
yes tom, trump, is a good example, and to think that so many Christians sold their souls to Donald Trump.
Another vote is going to impeach him
What a surprise. Another failure of the do-nothing magaloons.
this phoney impeachment attempt will backfire on the maga Republican. the maga Republicans have been doing everything possible to make Mayorkas job impossible including cutting funds for enforcement and the judiciary. they have a large piece of responsibility for this crisis on the border. they have nothing to run on in the 2024 election, with out the border issues.
the maga Republicans know hr2 is a non starter..... the house Republicans rhr2, a ploy to keep the borders open and a political issue for Trump and the house Maga Republicans to run on in the 2024 election cycle.
so the MAGA nutjobs have time to vote for impeachment of Secretary of Homeland Secuirty for supposedly not doing more to stop illegal immigrants yet they won't even putting the Senate border bill up for vote in the House, but hey, they are all about stopping the illegal immigrants and protect the borders, nothing about helping their Orange Messiah eh?
 "does nothing to stop the influx of illegals"  -- funny, isn't that what the GOP MAGA nutjobs are doing in the Houe now?  sitting around voting on impeachment while not even negotiating for a workable bill so it can be passed
tre Republicans have already passed a bill, Senate just needs to stop playing politics and vote on it
mark your hr2 is a real stinker and won't pass in the Senate. it's not realistic and impossible to implement.
A sideshow for the magaloons.
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