Mayorkas Impeachment Fails

Source: the White House

Via The Hill: In stunner, House GOP bid to impeach Mayorkas fails.

A House GOP effort to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas failed in embarrassing fashion Tuesday as three Republicans joined Democrats in voting against what would have been the second-ever impeachment of a Cabinet official.

The 214-216 vote is a stunning loss for a GOP that has faced continual pressure from its right flank to impeach a Biden official, even as the party has waffled over which one to focus on.

While the outcome is definitely an embarrassment to the House GOP leadership, I am going to admit that part of me isn’t stunned, because the whole notion was such an obviously ridiculous political stunt that part of my brain figured it couldn’t possibly be successful. Still, it is a testament to the state of the House GOP caucus that they could come this close to such an absurd action in the same week it blew up a deal to increase border security that is practically right off their own wishlist.

The failure came about because of the surprise appearance in the chamber of Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), who showed up unexpectedly to vote against the bill. 

Republicans entered the vote with two expected GOP “no” votes from Reps. Ken Buck (Colo.) and Tom McClintock (Calif.), but then a third House GOP lawmaker, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), also voted against impeachment. The surprise “no” vote prompted numerous GOP colleagues to gather around Gallagher for a lengthy conversation before the vote closed.

A fourth Republican, Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah), the vice chair of the GOP conference, then flipped his vote to “no” seconds before the vote closed, a procedural move that allows the conference to bring the legislation back to the floor at a later date.

A chance to nonetheless do the stupid thing remains on the table.

Republicans say the hope is to bring the legislation to the floor again, when House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), who is undergoing treatment for cancer, will be able to attend.

Regardless of one’s view of proper immigration and border security policy, no one with two brain cells thinks that impeaching Mayorkas is anything other than a brazen political stunt. Not only is the notion that he is “willful[ly] and systemic[atically] refus[ing] to comply with the law” absurd but there is no way he will be removed by the Senate. At a minimum, it is a way for House Republicans to send a signal (which may, ultimately, be all that the impeachment process is good for).

Of course, it would be nice if the signal made some semblance of sense.

Further, the problems at the border are a combination of external forces, inadequate resources, and inefficacious policies. None of that is Mayorkas’ fault. Not to mention that the problem isn’t lack of enforcement (and certainly not willful disregard of the law). It is just that the numbers are simply huge.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Kathy says:

    Fire ant soldiers bite so tenaciously, that they’ve been found clinging to people’s skin hours later. Often if you try to pull them off, the head will come off the body.

    Republiqans. Stubborn as ants, and about as bright.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve been saying for years that the only thing that is saving us is that the Repubs starting electing the Tea Partiers about ten years ago. Dumb as a box of rocks and therefore unable to legislate.

  3. Michael Reynolds says:

    What fucking idiots. Johnson can’t count votes? He didn’t happen to notice how thin his majority was? He missed how well Hakeem has the Dems in-line? The only message here is of impotence, chaos and corruption of the process.

  4. Gustopher says:

    Given that Marjorie Taylor Green was set to be one of the impeachment managers for the trial, I’m a little disappointed.

    Boosting her profile only helps Democrats. A Senate Trial run by MTG, where Mayorkas and the defense keep mentioning the Republicans backing out of a bipartisan border deal… It’s not the slam dunk for Republicans that they seem to think it would be.

    I’m not sure having a bunch of Democrats not vote would have been a good thing, but I’m not sure it wouldn’t have. It would have helped the Republican effort to downplay the Trump impeachments as purely political theater, but it also would have taken the immigration issue and twisted it into knots.

  5. Mister Bluster says:

    Not to worry. Soon Trump’s Minister of Truth designate JKB will tell us that this is all fake news. Obama rigged the vote in the House and the trial in the Senate will begin tomorrow.

  6. a country lawyer says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Apparently, among the qualifications to be speaker, the ability to count is not required.

  7. @Michael Reynolds: @a country lawyer: This current group of House Republicans has been rather bad at counting votes–a truly remarkable thing to behold.

  8. ptfe says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I think this is because they’re convinced that They Are America, and they are so lacking in empathy that they can’t even read a room. Get 200 people together who dead ass know they’re right, but also dead ass can’t figure out what’s going on in their neighbor’s brain, and you’ll get the worst caucus ever to grace Whatever God You Believe In’s green Earth.

  9. Telsiree says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Republicans in disarray. You have never seen this headline. You will never see this headline.

    Except that is what’s happening.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:


  11. Lounsbury says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: One rather suspects that it is not so much that they are bad at counting but that rather they are boxed in by their own MAGA Activist fringe and forced into wasteful charges into the metaphorical machine guns even when they know better, as pointless gestures to protect their own positions internally in the failed state paradigme, without hope of actually winning the action itself. Pointless grand gestures as sops to the true believers. True believers are a pox.

    Your highlighting of the institutional party weakness and the current rather evidently degraded or degenerated state of that party – the failed state metaphor, dominated by a not-very-competent warlord (the Orange cretin) who can rally extremist “militias” that is useful to intimidate his territory but is incompetent in executing beyond that provides quite a lot of explanatory power for otherwise daft behaviour. Although some persons like the horsey Green likely do not know any better and are too dim to see beyond their fantasy theatrics.

    Oddly this all is sadly more reminiscent of the kind of politics in the weak states I tend to be working in than modern developed democracies, although does for me contain disturbing echoes of Right and Left political coherence degeneracy of the 30s.

    @ptfe: self-congratulatory and navel gazing non analysis as “Black Hats are Bad People”. Their own internal party dynamics and pressures, not “empathy” or “reading a room”

    @MarkedMan: yes, when one’s opposition has been taken over by ideological fringers who show no ability nor desire to modulate to appeal beyond their pre-sold audience, it becomes a modest advantage. Pity your side suffers from self-imposed incapacity to better capitalise on this, from own blindness and activist autism in political strategy, you could truly break them.

  12. James Joyner says:


    Republicans in disarray. You have never seen this headline. You will never see this headline.

    That headline has appeared thousands of times.

  13. Sleeping Dog says:


    Actually saw a few variations of Repubs in disarray at different publications.

  14. steve says:

    This really isn’t much different than all of the investigations, remember the 8 Benghazi investigations, that the GOP had when they held the House before. The purpose really isn’t to find anything, though they would be happy if that happened, it’s just to keep the base happy so you win primary votes and to raise money. Remember the 392 votes they took to repeal the ACA? Same thing.


  15. Matt Bernius says:

    Republican House leaders have now shared the vote was timed to take advantage of Al Green’s hospitalization. They didn’t count on Green’s returning to participate in the vote. Apparently, the Democrats, wisely, did not inform their counterparts of Green’s planned return.

    Sarcastically, as one commenter put it on Twitter: Republicans are so used to winning by suppressing the Black vote that they just assumed it would work in this context.

    (Representative Green is Black.)

  16. Joe says:

    @Matt Bernius: Anybody who is familiar with his wide body of music would not know that. s/