Mayorkas impeachment likely to stall in closely divided House and Democratic Senate
The Republican push to impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will likely stall in the next Congress, as Democrats will retain control of the Senate and the GOP will hold only a narrow majority in the House.
“The failure to win the Senate hurts a lot and the [House] the margin makes the difference,” said Rep. Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma and incoming chairman of the House Rules Committee. “A lot of the people who put us in the majority are from relatively moderate seats.”
To impeach a federal official, the House must first pass a resolution making its case for what crime or misconduct was committed that requires removal from office, which can be passed by a simple majority vote. After the House votes, the Senate sits for trial and the Chief Justice presides.
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The Senate then votes on whether to convict or acquit the individual. Two-thirds of the Senate, usually 67 votes, is needed to convict.
Hardline conservatives have long argued that Mayorkas’ alleged mishandling of the growing migrant crisis at the US-Mexico border is an impeachment-level offense. The House Judiciary Committee is already planning an in-depth investigation into the border crisis, which some hardliners hope will be the first step toward impeachment.
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“House Judiciary Republicans have subpoenaed Mayorkas for a border investigation,” said Rep. Mayra Flores, R-Texas. “Nothing less than impeachment and removal proceedings should be the result.”
However, even getting a simple majority in the House could be difficult. Republicans will control at most 226 seats and will most likely control a few more votes than the minimum 218 needed to have a majority. That means nearly every Republican will have to be on board with impeachment for the effort to succeed.
That seems a difficult prospect given the sentiments of some moderate and centrist Republicans. A moderate House Republican told Fox News that impeachment could be a step too far, despite complaints about Mayorkas’ handling of the border.
“Many of us were upset about the way House Democrats politicized the impeachment process during [former] President Donald Trump’s tenure,” said one centrist Republican lawmaker. “Nobody wants to see a president or a cabinet official removed just for having different views than the party that controls the House.”
Flores supports impeachment but will not be in Congress next year for a vote on it after losing his re-election bid to incumbent Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez in a showdown that was determined by redistricting.
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Even if it can pass the House, many Republicans see the effort as an exercise in futility given that Democrats will retain control of the Senate. Even if the GOP had won a slim majority in the upper chamber, crossing the two-thirds threshold would likely still be impossible given Democrats’ opposition to impeaching one of the Biden administration’s cabinet officials.