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House fails to pass articles of impeachment for Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas

The House failed to approve articles of impeachment for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Jose Luis Magana
/
AP
The House failed to approve articles of impeachment for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

House Republicans failed to pass articles of impeachment for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, scuttling an effort that was widely seen as an opportunity to deliver on a key promise to GOP base voters.

The vote was stuck in a tie for several minutes as leaders scrambled, but in the end, four Republicans voted against the measure and the final vote was 214 to 216.

Republicans immediately moved to bring back the resolution up for another vote. But it's unclear when or if that will eventually happen. Republican Leader Steve Scalise was absent and is expected to return to the Capitol this month.

The two articles charged Mayorkas with "willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law" in enforcing border policy and "breach of public trust."

The Republican base and conservative media figures called for impeachment of multiple Biden administration officials – including Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and President Biden himself – after the party retook the House in the 2022 midterms.

Republicans have focused on investigations and oversight to deliver on demands from their base in a divided Congress where a Democratic-controlled Senate can quash any partisan bills sent from the House. But with a razor-thin majority, Republicans were unable to unite their conference and maintain a majority on the Mayorkas impeachment measure.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday morning, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said the chamber did not take the move "lightly." He accused Mayorkas of failing to enforce federal law "blatantly, openly, willfully and without remorse."

"It's an extreme measure, but extreme times call for extreme measures," Johnson said.

Rep. Tom McClintock, one of the Republicans who voted against impeaching, said on the House Floor Tuesday that "Sec. Mayorkas is guilty of maladministration of our immigration laws on a cosmic scale. But we know that's not grounds for impeachment because the American founders specifically rejected it."

"They didn't want political disputes to become impeachments because that would shatter their separation of powers that vests the enforcement of the laws with the president — no matter how bad a job he does," said McClintock, R-Calif.

The failed push came as a bipartisan deal to enhance border security collapsed in the Senate.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Lexie Schapitl is a production assistant with NPR's Washington Desk, where she produces radio pieces and digital content. She also reports from the field and assists with production of the NPR Politics Podcast.
Deirdre Walsh is the congress editor for NPR's Washington Desk.
Eric McDaniel edits the NPR Politics Podcast. He joined the program ahead of its 2019 relaunch as a daily podcast.