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WASHINGTON — Texas Congressional Republicans helped move the chamber a historic step closer toward impeaching Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas for what the GOP has described as a mishandling of the southern border and a dereliction of duties amid a rise in illegal crossings.
The House Homeland Security Committee voted 18-15 along party lines to impeach the secretary, citing two articles of impeachment – “breach of public trust” and “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law." Four Texas Republicans sit on the committee: former committee chair Rep. Michael McCaul, of Austin, border district Rep. Tony Gonzales of San Antonio, Rep. August Pfluger of San Angelo, and Rep. Morgan Luttrell of Willis.
For the past year, Texans have been at the forefront of calls to impeach Mayorkas as they’ve relentlessly attacked the Biden administration over the border. U.S. Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Sherman, filed a motion to impeach the secretary in January of last year for not “maintaining operational control” of the southern border.
While opening impeachment investigations have become an increasingly popular partisan move in recent years, it’s been nearly 150 years since a member of the president’s cabinet has been impeached. Democrats have written off the effort as a politically motivated sham.
The full House is expected to vote on Mayorkas’ impeachment next week — where only a majority is needed to pass — and McCaul and Pfluger said Tuesday they were confident it would have the votes.
“There’s maybe a couple members who have preexisting, not necessarily with this case, but preexisting concerns but just with the impeachment process in general,” said Pfluger of his Republican colleagues. “You know, this is so egregious, so catastrophic, and we’re in a situation where this is the only tool left.”
If the House were to impeach Mayorkas, it’s deeply unlikely the Democratic controlled Senate would vote to convict. However, Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz have previously said they support removing Mayorkas.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Houston Democrat on the Homeland Security committee, introduced an amendment in committee to discard the first article of impeachment – willful violation of the law – that failed. She defended Mayorkas and said Republicans did not have a legitimate case to pursue impeachment.
“The constitution gives Congress the power to impeach federal officials for treason, bribery and high crimes and misdemeanors,” Jackson Lee said during the hearing. “That is a high bar. We do not have that... As I said, this is revenge impeachment.”
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