WASHINGTON, D.C. — A vote to impeach Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas failed in the House Tuesday evening.
The vote occurred after weeks of a Republican-led effort to impeach Mayorkas over his handling of the southern border.
For now, Mayorkas avoids becoming the second cabinet official in U.S. history to be impeached by the House, and the first in the last 150 years.
The vote failed in the House 216-214. Three GOP defections killed the measure. However, a fourth – Rep. Blake Moore (R- UT) – joined the no side to allow House Republicans to bring up the vote again in the future when the vote was initially tied 215-215.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R- LA), who was absent from this evening’s vote for medical reasons, is expected to return in the near future. House Republicans could retry the vote with Scalise present, giving them the extra vote they needed Tuesday evening.
Republicans say Mayorkas’ “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” and “breach of public trust” amounts to the impeachable offenses of high crimes and misdemeanors.
Some Republicans who voted against the resolution cited concerns over the precedent impeaching Mayorkas would set.
Other Republicans say they take no pleasure in voting to impeach Mayorkas and believe that his actions have left them no choice.
“As much as I would love to not have to impeach a cabinet level secretary, his performance has been nothing short of dereliction of duty on all counts,” said Rep. Jack Bergman (R- MI). “He’s lied, he didn’t carry out his duties and he is continually not responding to requests for details from Congress,” Bergman added. “He has earned the right to be impeached.”
“I’m a Marine. If you’re going to secure a perimeter, in this case, our border, you need to know who’s coming through the gates. You’ve got to know who, when and how. And Secretary Mayorkas, unfortunately, has failed at every level,” said Bergman.
House Democrats call the impeachment effort a “sham.” Senators, like Bob Casey (D- PA) believe House Republicans should focus on providing real border solutions, citing the bipartisan border and national security bill unveiled on Sunday.
“I think their time would be better served this week working with us to pass a real significant investment in border security,” said Sen. Casey.
The border bill is expected to receive a procedural vote in the Senate on Wednesday.