House Republicans face tough margins on impeaching Mayorkas

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WASHINGTON — Colorado Republican Ken Buck said Thursday morning that he’s a “solid” no on impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, raising questions about whether the House GOP has the votes to do so.

“The people that I’m talking to on the outside, the constitutional experts, former members agree that this just isn’t an impeachable offense,” Buck said.

“It’s maladministration. He’s terrible,” Buck said of Mayorkas. “The border is a disaster, but that’s not impeachable.”

Buck’s opposition could be crucial, given Republicans’ slim majority. The GOP plans to bring the impeachment articles to the House floor next week and can afford to lose just two votes on the floor if all members are present and voting. If successful, the vote would force a Senate trial.

Buck, who was previously undecided on the impeachment, said he has been talking to Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., and committee staff. Notably, House Republican leadership has not talked to him to sway his vote in favor, he said.  

Members of the House Homeland Security Committee voted along party lines early Wednesday to send the impeachment articles to the full House for a vote. They accuse Mayorkas and the Biden administration of disregarding federal laws on immigration and seek to make Mayorkas the second Cabinet official to be impeached in U.S. history. The articles specifically charge him with “willful” disregard for the law and breaching the public trust, allegations that don’t rise to the level of impeachment Democrats, constitutional scholars and now Buck argue.

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House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-L.A.., said earlier this week he expects the articles to come to the floor next week. His vote could be key as well. If Scalise, who is absent from Washington receiving cancer treatment, returns before the impeachment vote, the math becomes slightly easier for Republicans: they could afford to lose three votes. Democrats say they are confident their members will be united in opposing the Mayorkas impeachment.

There are other Republicans who have not committed to supporting impeachment. In November, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-C.A., gave a floor speech criticizing Mayorkas’ track record as secretary but argued that it did not meet the specific threshold of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors described by America’s founders.

At the time, he opposed redefining impeachment, warning that “the next time Democrats have the majority, we can expect this new definition to be turned against the conservatives on the Supreme Court and any future Republican administration. And there will be nobody to stop them because Republicans will have signed off on this new and unconstitutional abuse of power.”

Another moderate Republican, Dave Joyce of Ohio, has met with Green and is reviewing materials from the Homeland Security Committee, his spokesperson said. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-W.A., previously told reporters he was waiting to see what came out of the Homeland Security Committee. His office did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday morning about his latest position.

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