Republicans in the House of Representatives on Feb. 13 will try for a second time to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, after failing to do so by one vote a week ago. They might succeed, because of the return of Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.)
The official final vote was 216 nays and 214 ayes after Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah), who is a member of the House Republican leadership, changed his vote to nay in a parliamentary move that ensured the impeachment resolution could be brought back by the GOP for a second vote this week.
Mr. Scalise wasn’t present last week, as he was undergoing medical treatments for blood cancer. However, the Louisiana Republican is back on Capitol Hill this week after being cleared by doctors, and is expected to cast the 217th vote for impeachment.
If that happens, Mr. Mayorkas will become only the second presidential Cabinet member to be impeached in American history. Former Secretary of War George Belknap was the first impeached—on five counts—by the House in 1876. The Senate didn’t convict Belknap, who resigned from office.
Three Republicans joined all 213 House Democrats in defeating the impeachment resolution last week, including Reps. Ken Buck of Colorado, Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, and Tom McClintock of California. Mr. Buck and Mr. McClintock said they voted nay because the impeachment resolution didn’t, in their judgment, prove Mr. Mayorkas had committed impeachable crimes.
Mr. Gallagher said his nay vote was based on his opposition to “opening a Pandora’s box” of strictly politically motivated impeachments. The Feb. 6 vote in the House was the third impeachment vote since 2019, with the two prior votes being against then-President Donald Trump.
The Senate declined to convict President Trump on either of those impeachments. The same result is expected on the Mayorkas impeachment if it reaches the Senate.
Mr. Buck and Mr. Gallagher have announced their plans not to seek reelection in November. Mr. Buck is serving his fifth two-year term in the House, while Mr. Gallagher is serving his fourth term. Mr. Gallagher’s departure will be especially felt in the House Republican Conference because he’s the chairman of the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party; chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Cyber, Information Technologies, and Innovation; and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Democrats almost lost the vote of Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) last week, who had undergone emergency surgery earlier in the day, but he was wheeled onto the House floor just in time to cast his vote against impeachment. Mr. Green is expected to be present on Feb. 13 to again cast a no vote.
House Republican leaders want to hold the second vote on Feb. 13 because they may lose a New York special election the same day to replace former Rep. George Santos, the Republican expelled from the House in December 2023.
Former Rep. Tom Suozzi, who was defeated in the 2022 congressional election by Mr. Santos, and Republican Mazi Pilip are competing to replace the disgraced Republican. While Mr. Suozzi is favored to retake the seat, he can’t be sworn in in time for the second impeachment vote.
“His refusal to obey the law is not only an offense against the separation of powers in the Constitution of the United States, it also threatens our national security and has had a dire impact on communities across the country,” it reads.
Article II accuses Mr. Mayorkas of breaching the public trust by having “knowingly made false statements, and knowingly obstructed lawful oversight of the Department of Homeland Security, principally to obfuscate the results of his willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law.”