On Tuesday, a second House Republican came out against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of the border crisis, putting the GOP-led push on the edge of failure if another defector comes forward.
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) released a statement and a ten-page memo arguing that a successful House vote will not solve the border crisis under President Joe Biden and that the charges against Mayorkas are not impeachable offenses.
“The only way to stop the border invasion is to replace the Biden administration at the ballot box. Swapping one leftist for another is a fantasy, solves nothing, excuses Biden’s culpability, and unconstitutionally expands impeachment that someday will bite Republicans,” McClintock said.
Two articles of impeachment allege Mayorkas has “willfully and systemically refused to comply with Federal immigration laws” and “breached the public trust” by making false statements, “knowingly” obstructing lawful oversight of the Department of Homeland Security, and making false statements to Congress.
Democrats have panned the impeachment proceedings as a “political stunt,” while the White House went as far as to claim the endeavor is “unconstitutional.” Mayorkas pushed back against what he called “false accusations” levied against him. Should impeachment succeed in the House, it faces long odds in the Democrat-led Senate.
Still, House Republicans are expected to move forward with impeachment this week. They carry a slim margin by which they could approve the articles, assuming every voting Democrat opposes them as they did at the committee level. The party breakdown is 219 Republicans and 212 Democrats, with four vacancies.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), who is not seeking re-election this year, has already come out against the impeachment effort. If only two Republicans oppose impeachment, the articles could still reach the requisite simple majority.
But there are still a couple of unknowns.
Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) has been out of Washington to undergo a stem cell transplant as he battles blood cancer. And it remains unclear where some other rank-and-file Republicans, including Reps. Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Patrick McHenry (R-NC), stand on impeachment. One more “no” vote could sink the articles if Scalise is still out.
Timing will also be a factor.
With New York expected to hold its special election to replace now-former Rep. George Santos (R-NY) next week, the Democrats may soon have another member in their ranks. Other special elections to fill other vacancies will follow in the coming weeks and months.
Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) told reporters on Tuesday morning that he had just spoken to both McClintock and Buck about impeaching Mayorkas.
“I respect everyone’s view on it … I believe impeachment is probably the heaviest authority that the House is given in the Constitution. We carry that weight very carefully,” Johnson said.