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Republicans might not have the votes to impeach DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Two GOP lawmakers are still undecided.

Brent D. Griffiths   

Republicans might not have the votes to impeach DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Two GOP lawmakers are still undecided.
  • Speaker Mike Johnson will have to guide a historic impeachment through a razor-thin majority.
  • At least two Republican lawmakers are still undecided on impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

House Republicans took more than 14 hours to ram through impeachment articles against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas through committee approval. The hard part might still be to come.

As Speaker Mike Johnson pointed out on Tuesday, the GOP has effectively a one-vote majority. If Democrats stay united in opposition, the first impeachment of a Cabinet official in nearly 150 years could fail in an embarrassing moment for the GOP. A final vote is expected as soon as next week.

Just after 1 am Wednesday morning, the House Homeland Security Committee approved two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas on an 18 to 15 party-line vote. The articles accuse him of failing to enforce the nation's immigration laws and breaching the public's trust with his congressional testimony about the state of the US southern border, charges he strongly rejected in a searing letter to the panel.

Johnson and House leadership must grapple with at least two publicly undecided Republican lawmakers in Reps. Ken Buck of Colorado and Tom McClintock of California.

Buck told CNN Tuesday evening that he remains undecided. He and seven other Republicans joined Democrats in November in voting to punt Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's push to impeach Mayorkas to the Homeland Security panel. A staunch House conservative and member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, Buck has shown an increasing tendency to defy his party. He remains troubled by those who question President Joe Biden's 2020 victory. Buck is set to retire after this Congress, potentially making it more difficult for leadership to coerce him to stick with the GOP on an issue he feels particularly strong about.

"I do believe there has to be some very, very egregious act that is like just like a crime," Buck said of his narrow view of what constitutes impeachment. "In my view, Secretary Mayorkas has not committed that and I'm a lean no at this point. I'm still open-minded."

McClintock told reporters on Tuesday that he remains undecided.

"I'm keeping an open mind on it," he told Axios. "I want to see what the product of the committee is."

In November, McClintock issued a blistering statement that warned his party would create a troubling standard for future impeachments if they followed through with their plans for Mayorkas.

"The House made a mockery of impeachment twice during the last session of Congress," McClintock said at the time. "We must not allow the left to become our teachers. If these clear constitutional principles are not restored, now, that power will be just one election from being turned against the constitutionalists on the Supreme Court, or upon any future Republican administration."

House leadership has made some progress in rounding up the votes. Rep. Don Bacon, a Nebraska Republican, who represents a district President Joe Biden won in 2020, announced on Tuesday that he would support impeaching Mayorkas.

"I think there's been a dereliction of duty," Bacon told reporters, per Politico. "There's laws that have not been complied with and we're suffering one of the worst crises in our country."

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