Rep. Tom McClintock said on Tuesday that he will oppose impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas — meaning Republicans have literally no room for error.
If Democrats have full attendance, House GOP leaders can’t afford to have any additional absences or lose a single other GOP vote.
McClintock (R-Calif.), in a lengthy letter to his colleagues, argued that the GOP articles against Mayorkas stretched how the founders would define an impeachable offense. And he warned that, if successful, Republicans were setting a precedent that Democrats might use against them in the future.
“Do Republicans really wish to establish an expansive view of impeachment that will surely be turned against conservatives on the Supreme Court or a future Republican president if Congress changes hands?” McClintock wrote.
He added that while a Cabinet official could be removed for committing a crime, that House Republicans were trying to cross a “bright line” by recommending he be removed from office for carrying out President Joe Biden’s policy decisions on the border. The articles of impeachment against Mayorkas accuse him of a breach of trust and refusing to comply with the law.
McClintock is the second GOP “no” vote in addition to Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), who announced last week that he would oppose the historic step of impeaching Mayorkas. A Cabinet official hasn’t been impeached since 1876. McClintock’s opposition, though long expected, underscores the uncertainty heading into Tuesday’s scheduled vote.
Failing to impeach Mayorkas would mark an embarrassing political setback for House Republicans and Speaker Mike Johnson, who have faced intense pressure from their base to impeach Biden or a top official. A failure to impeach Mayorkas could further imperil hopes to eventually impeach the president as well.
There are still several lawmakers who are still publicly undecided, including Reps. David Joyce (R-Ohio), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.). And Majority Leader Steve Scalise’s expected absence as he undergoes treatment for blood cancer. If one more holdout votes against impeaching Mayorkas and Democrats have full attendance, the measure would fail.
Homeland Security Chair Mark Green (R-Tenn.), asked if he believed he had the votes on Tuesday, said: “We’ll see pretty soon.”