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House Committee Propels Mayorkas Impeachment Articles Forward, Setting Stage for Landmark Floor Vote

House Committee Propels Mayorkas Impeachment Articles Forward, Setting Stage for Landmark Floor Vote
Credits: The Hill

In a groundbreaking move, the House Homeland Security Committee voted to advance impeachment articles against Defense Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, setting the stage for a potential historical moment where Mayorkas could become the first Cabinet secretary to face impeachment in nearly 150 years.

After a marathon 15-hour session marked by heated exchanges, the GOP-led committee, voting along strict party lines, pushed through two impeachment articles to the House floor, where Republicans cling to a narrow majority. The forthcoming week anticipates fervent debates and votes on the articles.

House Republicans unveiled the impeachment articles against President Biden’s immigration chief, alleging Mayorkas of a “deliberate and systematic disregard for the law” and a “betrayal of public trust” concerning the administration’s response to the migrant crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border.

House Committee Propels Mayorkas Impeachment Articles Forward, Setting Stage for Landmark Floor Vote

Mayorkas impeachment (Credits: Fox News)

Chairman of the committee, GOP Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee, emphasized that the committee exhausted all alternatives in holding Mayorkas accountable for flouting congressional mandates.

“We cannot allow this individual to continue in his position,” Green asserted. “The time for accountability has arrived.” However, House Democrats condemned the impeachment endeavor as a farce, citing a lack of evidence to substantiate charges of high crimes or misdemeanors, which form the constitutional foundation for impeachment.

The proceedings extended into the early hours of Wednesday as Democrats sought to prolong the session by demanding recorded votes and raising procedural objections.

Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the committee’s senior Democrat, contended that neither impeachment charge met the high crime or misdemeanor threshold.

The primary impeachment article alleges Mayorkas’s repeated violation of the law by permitting the release of migrants awaiting court proceedings, while the second article accuses him of misleading lawmakers regarding the security of the southern border and impeding congressional oversight.

In the event of impeachment, Mayorkas is expected to face acquittal in a trial within the Democratic-controlled Senate, where a two-thirds majority is necessary for conviction and removal from office. Nonetheless, his impeachment would mark a historic event, being only the second Cabinet official to face such proceedings in U.S. history and the first in nearly a century and a half.

The push for impeachment aligns with the GOP’s strategy to elevate border security as a focal point in the 2024 campaign. Despite this, many House Republicans oppose an immigration agreement aimed at curbing illegal border crossings, a deal Mayorkas helped broker with a bipartisan group of senators.

Republicans on the committee challenged assertions that the charges against Mayorkas failed to meet the constitutional threshold for impeachment, suggesting a broader interpretation of the term “misdemeanor” as an act of self-diminishment rather than a criminal offense.

Democrats rebuffed this interpretation, stressing that impeachment should not hinge on perceived job performance. Rep. Seth Magaziner of Rhode Island cautioned against setting a precedent where impeachment becomes a tool for partisan agendas.

Amidst the escalating tensions, Democrats released a report defending Mayorkas and accusing Republicans of abusing their impeachment authority for political gains.

Mayorkas, in a letter to lawmakers prior to the vote, urged Congress to address the border crisis through legislative means, underscoring the significance of policies negotiated by senators. He dismissed Republican accusations as politically motivated and reaffirmed his commitment to public service.

The Homeland Security Department criticized the impeachment effort as a diversion from pressing national security concerns, accusing Republicans of prioritizing political rhetoric over substantive solutions to immigration issues.

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