The Republican push to impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will likely stall in the next Congress, as Democrats will keep control of the Senate and the GOP will hold just a narrow majority in the House.
“The failure to win the Senate hurts a lot and the [House] margin makes a difference,” said Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican and the incoming chair of the House Rules Committee. “A lot of the people that put us in the majority are from relatively moderate seats.”
To impeach a federal official, the House must first pass a resolution presenting its case for what crime or misconduct was committed that requires removal from office, which can pass with a simple majority vote. After the House vote, the Senate sits in trial and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides.
The Senate then votes whether to convict or acquit the individual. Two-thirds of the Senate, usually 67 votes, is needed to convict.
Hard-line conservatives have long argued that Mayorkas’s alleged mismanagement of the surging migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border is an impeachment-level offense. The House Judiciary Committee is already planning an in-depth investigation into the border crisis, which some hard-liners hope will be the first step toward impeachment.
“House Judiciary Republicans have summoned Mayorkas for border investigation,” said Rep. Mayra Flores, R-Texas. “Nothing short of an impeachment and removal proceedings should be the outcome.”
However, even winning a simple majority in the House could be difficult. Republicans at most will control 226 seats and most likely will control just a few more votes than the minimum 218 needed to hold the majority. That means nearly every Republican will need to be on board with impeachment for the effort to succeed.
That looks to be a difficult prospect given the feelings of some moderate and centrist Republicans. One moderate House Republican told Fox News that impeachment might be a step too far, even though there are complaints about Mayorkas’s handling of the border.
“A lot of us were upset at the way that House Democrats politicized the impeachment process during [former] President Donald Trump’s tenure,” said one centrist GOP lawmaker. “No one wants to see a president or cabinet official impeached simply for holding different views than the party in control of the House.”
Flores supports impeachment, but she will not be in Congress next year to vote on it after she lost her re-election bid to incumbent Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez in a match-up that was determined by redistricting.
Even if it can pass the House, many Republicans see the effort as a futile exercise given that Democrats will keep control of the Senate. Even if the GOP had won a slim majority in the upper-chamber, crossing the two-thirds threshold would likely still be impossible given Democrats’ opposition to impeaching one of the Biden administration’s cabinet officials.