United States: The Republican leadership of the US House Representatives was put to test on Tuesday 27th September, as it tried to find whether enough votes from its convoluted majority could be assembled for impeaching President Joe Biden’s top border official.
Issues concerning immigration have risen to one of the major points in this year’s election campaign while Republican former President Donald Trump is preparing for a likely November rematch with Biden. Trump has meanwhile separately been pressing congressional Republicans to reject a bipartisan border security deal released on Sunday.
Impeachment Articles and Opposition
Two articles of impeachment against Alejandro Mayorkas were approved last week by The House’s Homeland Security committee. He took a near-unprecedented step to take against a member of a president’s cabinet over a policy dispute.
With a slim 219-212 majority, Republicans will need almost every vote to pass these measures, and even if they can do so, the Democratic-controlled Senate is all but certain to find Mayorkas not guilty.
At the least, two Republican representatives have declared that they will not vote in support of it. On Tuesday, Rep. Tom McClintock pointed out that the investigation of Mayorkas did not reveal an impeachable crime, while on Monday, Representative Ken Buck made a similar statement.
House Republicans accused Mayorkas of being deliberately negligent in securing the long border with Mexico and betraying public trust through misleading Congress.
The US Border Patrol arrested over 2 million migrants at the border between the USA- and Mexico in the fiscal year of 2013.
Mayorkas has denied any misconduct and also defended his term
Mayorkas’ Defense and Denial
Yesterday, the day before the Senate took a first procedural vote on a tough new bipartisan border security bill that House Speaker Mike Johnson called “dead on arrival” in his chamber.
The other instance when a member of the cabinet was impeached apart from in 1876, it can be noted that this took place during his tenure as secretary of war when he went under investigation for corruption. The Senate acquitted him.
“Secretary Mayorkas’ actions, both in his intentional refusal to enforce our laws and abandoning the confidence of Americans, require us to act,” House Rules Committee Chairman Tom Cole said on Monday as his panel prepared to set the rules for debating the impeachment charges before the full House.
“If he does not do his duty, then, unfortunately, the House must do its constitutional duty,” Cole said.
The impeachment exercise has elicited contempt from the Democrats as they have viewed it to be a scheme aimed at scoring points against Biden and his administration in preparation for November’s poll.
Democratic Opposition and Controversy
Representative Bennie Thompson, the ranking Democrat on the panel, said that this was a pre-planned, predetermined scapegoating of the secretary made up with cooked-up vague, unprecedented grounds.
But Democrats and some legal authorities have charged that the impeachment charges are far from constituting “high crimes and misdemeanours” under the Constitution’s impeachment requirement.