The House will vote today to impeach DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the first time the chamber has moved to oust a Cabinet secretary in nearly 150 years.
You can call this the “House Freedom Caucus Impeachment” if you want. These conservatives, along with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) — who was kicked out of the HFC last year — have been leading the push to target Mayorkas for months, both in the Homeland Security Committee and on the floor.
And once a Senate trial begins for Mayorkas — which will ultimately lead to his acquittal — multiple HFC members will be on the Senate floor helping to manage the case against him. More on this below.
Today’s vote: If all 431 members are present and voting, House Republicans can only lose three votes. Democrats are expecting one absence, which gives Republicans a little more room to maneuver.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) has publicly said he’s a “hard no” on impeachment. Reps. David Joyce (R-Ohio), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) are possible GOP no’s we’re tracking too.
Joyce and McClintock told us they’ll release statements prior to the vote on impeachment. Both refused to tell us where they stand heading into today.
But we expect this to be a straight party-line vote, meaning Mayorkas’ ouster is guaranteed if the GOP vote count stays the same.
Yet the opposition to Mayorkas’ impeachment has gotten louder and more intense as the floor vote has gotten closer. Along with House Democrats, the White House and the Department of Homeland Security, a number of legal experts — including Republicans — have called the process improper and constitutionally suspect.
Mayorkas’ allies also assert that he wasn’t allowed to testify in his own defense, which we covered.
Dems latest rebuttal: On Monday, two top DHS lawyers sent a lengthy letter to Rules Committee Chair Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and ranking member Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) calling the impeachment effort improper and unconstitutional.
McGovern read the document — drafted by DHS General Counsel Jonathan Meyer and Counsel David O’Neil — into the record.
“Impeachment in these circumstances, and on this record, would represent a radical and dangerous step in violation of the Constitution,” the letter states. “The House of Representatives should reject the proposed Articles of Impeachment.”
None of this has dissuaded House Republicans, however.
What’s next: On Monday, Speaker Mike Johnson named the impeachment managers who would make the House case to convict Mayorkas to the Senate.
→ These GOP lawmakers include: Homeland Security Committee Chair Mark Green (Tenn.) and Reps. Michael McCaul (Texas), Clay Higgins (La.), Ben Cline (Va.), Michael Guest (Miss.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Andrew Garbarino (N.Y.), August Pfluger (Texas), Harriet Hageman (Wyo.), Laurel Lee (Fla.) and MTG.
A Senate trial is unlikely to occur until after the chamber returns from its two-week Presidents’ Day recess later this month.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will have to work out the ground rules, including how soon a motion to dismiss can be offered. As with everything in the Senate, this requires unanimous consent. In this case, there is little precedent for a Cabinet-level impeachment case, so Schumer will have wide discretion.
— John Bresnahan and Mica Soellner