Advertisement

House rules committee votes to advance Mayorkas impeachment case to House floor

UPI
The House Rules Committee voted Monday night to advance its impeachment case against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the full House where a vote on impeachment, for allegations of "willfully" refusing to enforce laws to protect the nation's southern border, could come as early as Tuesday. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI

Feb. 5 (UPI) -- The House Rules Committee voted Monday night to advance its impeachment case against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the House floor where a vote on impeachment, for allegations of "willfully" refusing to enforce laws to protect the nation's southern border, could come as early as Tuesday.

The Republican-led Rules Committee voted 8 to 4, along party lines, to send articles of impeachment to the House floor for debate and a vote.

The committee, led by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., took up House Resolution 863 Monday night in what was a procedural vote to advance the measure.

"The resolution before us is about accountability," Cole said in his opening remarks. "I take no pleasure in our actions today. But Secretary Mayorkas' actions -- both in his intentional refusal to enforce our laws and abandoning the confidence of Americans -- require us to act."

"Secretary Mayorkas has refused to uphold his oath of office. If he will not do his duty, then unfortunately, the House must do its constitutional duty," he added.

Those voting to advance the impeachment case to the full House included Cole, Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas; Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa.; Rep. Michelle Fischbach, R-Minn.; Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky.; Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C.; Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas; and Rep. Erin Houchin, R-Ind.

Those opposing the impeachment resolution included Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.; Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa.; Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, D-N.M.; and Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., who called it a "sad day for the institution."

The Rules Committee hearing comes five days after the House Committee on Homeland Security approved the impeachment resolution.

"President Joe Biden's self-made border disaster continues to spiral further out of control," Cole said in a social media post on Friday. "There were 302,034 illegal border crossings in December, the highest ever recorded in American history. The president should use his authority to fix this crisis, not pass the buck."

The impeachment resolution accuses Mayorkas of committing "high crimes and misdemeanors" for allegedly violating his oath of office by "willfully" not carrying out laws to protect the border.

It alleges Mayorkas "repeatedly violated laws enacted by Congress regarding immigration," while carrying out his duties. He was also charged with making false statements to Congress.

Biden, however, denounced the Republican-led effort as an "unprecedented and unconstitutional" political attack that abuses the impeachment powers invested in Congress for what is essentially a disagreement over policy.

"From his time in the Justice Department as a U.S. attorney to his service as deputy secretary and now secretary of Homeland Security, [Mayorkas] has upheld the rule of law faithfully and has demonstrated a deep commitment to the values that make our Nation great," Biden said in a statement Monday.

"Impeaching Secretary Mayorkas would be an unprecedented and unconstitutional act of political retribution that would do nothing to solve the challenges our nation faces in securing the border," he added.

Biden says in the remarks that Congress' impeachment power "was never intended as a device for members of an opposing political party to harass Executive Branch officials over policy disputes. Impeaching Secretary Mayorkas would trivialize this solemn constitutional power and invite more partisan abuse of this authority in the future."

The impeachment effort is coming against the backdrop of a related political struggle over immigration pitting the Biden administration and bipartisan political centrists in the Senate against former President Donald Trump and his right-wing GOP allies in the House.

Biden, Senate majority leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. and minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are backing a compromise effort to secure the border and strengthen an immigration system burdened by a record-high number of crossings. The text of the much-anticipated $118 billion deal to tighten security at the U.S.-Mexico border and offer aid to war-ravaged Ukraine was released Sunday.

But despite clamoring for increased border security and seeking to impeach Mayorkas, conservatives in the House already have rejected the effort, as has Trump, who has been lobbying Republicans to oppose the deal. The former president confirmed Monday he is doing so in part because border security is a central campaign issue for him.

"This Bill is a great gift to the Democrats, and a Death Wish for The Republican Party," he wrote in a post on his Truth Social platform. "It takes the HORRIBLE JOB the Democrats have done on Immigration and the Border, absolves them, and puts it all squarely on the shoulders of Republicans."