Posted on February 7, 2024

House GOP Fails to Impeach Mayorkas over Border Handling

Jordain Carney and Olivia Beavers, Politico, February 6, 2024

House Republicans’ high-stakes gamble to impeach Alejandro Mayorkas just barely failed on Tuesday, an embarrassing political setback for an already embattled majority.

The articles of impeachment against the Homeland Security secretary failed in an 214-216 vote, after four Republicans sided with Democrats to oppose recommending Mayorkas be booted from office. But Republican lawmakers quickly predicted they will bring it back up once Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who is undergoing treatment for blood cancer, returns.

“We’ll bring it back. The guy deserves to be impeached,” said Homeland Security Chair Mark Green (R-Tenn.), who has led the effort against Mayorkas.

The count was initially tied after Reps. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) voted with Democrats against impeaching Mayorkas. Republicans, including Green, spent spent several minutes huddled with Gallagher on the floor, in an apparent effort to change his vote. One person close to the conversation, granted anonymity to speak candidly, said members argued to Gallagher that he would be inviting strong blowback from the base.

Instead, Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah), the vice chair of the conference, flipped his vote to “no” — a procedural step that will let Republicans revive the impeachment articles, which some indicated could happen next week if Scalise returns. Johnson’s spokesman, Raj Shah, said in a post on X that the GOP “fully intends” to bring them back up “when we have the votes for passage.”

The high-profile defeat came hours after Johnson predicted to reporters that he believed they would have the votes, even as he faced growing skepticism from within own ranks and multiple holdouts refused to sign on.

The setback, even if its temporary, sparked immediate backlash from multiple corners of the conference. In addition to the failed Mayorkas impeachment, Johnson’s plan for a standalone Israel aid bill also failed on Tuesday night.


Republicans have been building their case to impeach Mayorkas for months, advancing articles last week that accused him of breach of public trust and refusing to comply with the law. If they’d been successful, it would’ve been the first impeachment of a Cabinet official since 1876.


The public setback on the House floor underscores the deep divisions within the conference, exacerbated by their thin majority. With Scalise missing, Republicans could only afford to lose two votes. {snip}


Tuesday’s failure also raises fresh questions about whether Republicans can take on their bigger impeachment goal: President Joe Biden. There were multiple signs of trouble heading into the Mayorkas vote that could be relevant for any effort against Biden as well.