Lawmakers Disapprove but Warn Against Setting Dangerous Precedent
In a tight vote of 214-216, the House of Representatives rejected a motion to impeach Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Several Republican lawmakers, including Reps. Tom McClintock of California, Ken Buck of Colorado, and Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, expressed their disapproval of Mayorkas’ handling of the situation at the southern border. However, they argued that the threshold for impeachment had not been met and cautioned against using impeachment as a political weapon in the future.
Al Green’s Unusual Vote
The vote came down to the wire after Democratic Texas Rep. Al Green unexpectedly showed up on the House floor wearing scrubs to vote against the impeachment measure. While Green’s motive remains unclear, his vote ultimately contributed to the defeat of the motion.
Absence of George Santos and Kevin McCarthy
One notable absence during the impeachment debate was former Rep. George Santos, who was expelled from the House on December 1. Santos is currently facing charges related to allegations of defrauding campaign contributors and misusing campaign funds for personal luxuries. Rep. Matt Gaetz lamented Santos’ absence, expressing his belief that his presence could have influenced the outcome of the vote. Gaetz also made an unexpected comment, saying, “Wouldn’t it have been nice to still have Kevin McCarthy in the House of Representatives? Never thought you’d hear me say that.” McCarthy, who served as House speaker, stepped down in December following his removal from the position by a group of hard-right conservatives.
Scramble to Replace McCarthy
McCarthy’s departure from the House speaker role triggered a race to fill the vacated position, which is currently being sorted out in court. A state judge recently ruled that McCarthy’s protégé, Republican Assemblyman Vince Fong, could appear on the ballot for the former speaker’s seat, despite having previously filed for reelection for his Assembly seat. This decision is currently being appealed.
This rejection of an impeachment attempt against Secretary Mayorkas marks a significant moment in the ongoing political landscape. It serves as a reminder of the complex balance between holding public officials accountable and preventing the misuse of impeachment as a partisan tool.