House Republicans are increasingly enthusiastic about impeaching top Biden officials. This presages intense pressure McCarthy will have to deal with if he becomes speaker next year.
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For most of President Biden’s first year in office, the hard-right of Republicans entertained the idea of impeaching both him and his Cabinet members. There is, however, a much larger group deliberating over these matters despite virtually no precedent or legal backing.
Several members of the Republican Study Committee, a group representing more than 150 members of the House of Representatives, are laying the groundwork to impeach the Secretary of Homeland Security.
One member of the group said that many committee members want him impeached already.
Members of Congress sent Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas a letter on Monday – drafted by Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind. ), chairman of the committee, and Brian Babin (R-Texas), co-chair of the border security caucus – which sets the ground for impeachment without using the word.
The letter reads in part:
“We write to address your actions to dismantle the security of our nation’s southern border and disregard for the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws…”
“Your actions have willingly endangered American citizens, undermined the rule of law and our nation’s sovereignty. Your failure to secure the border and enforce the laws passed by Congress raise grave questions about your suitability for office.”
“You have been specifically instructed by the court to implement the protocol in good faith or take new agency action that complied with the law. You have done neither.”
“The historic crisis at our southern border is set to worsen greatly due to the announced recession of Title 42 which will bring a tide of illegal immigrants across our southern border and overwhelm our already overworked and understaffed agents of the U.S. Border Patrol.”
“We call on you to take all legal and necessary actions at your disposal, of which there are many – to secure the southern border, rectify the dangerous policies this administration has put in motion over the past year, and bring your agency into compliance with the laws passed by the United States Congress.”
There is only one reason that the RSC hasn’t initiated impeachment proceedings yet: it wanted to get sign-off from party leaders on its strategy.
The group has favored a more moderate approach to impeachment, a source familiar with its discussions said.
House Minority Leader “Kevin [McCarthy] wants to make the case before we go for the jugular,” the source relayed to reporters.
The aggressive strategy has taken hold.
Representatives McCarthy, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La. ), and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the chair of the Republican Conference, are among the 133 Republicans who have signed on so far.
When asked whether Mayorkas’ impeachment could be considered, McCarthy did not call for it outright.
In spite of this, he said, “if someone is derelict in their job, there is always the option of impeaching somebody. But right now, he’s got 30 days.”
The committee gave Mayorkas 30 days to answer its questions.
There has only ever been one impeachment of a Cabinet official, according to the House historian.
In 1876, Secretary of War William Belknap was impeached by the House for allegedly accepting bribes. He was later acquitted by the Senate
The history of trying to remove cabinet members for pursuing policies opposed to those of the previous administration and the precedent of ejecting Cabinet members aren’t deterring House Republicans.
After the midterm elections, if the conference retains control of the chamber, the desire to impeach Biden himself or his top aides might force McCarthy into action more quickly than he would like.
However, the impulse to make the gesture would be strong even if it was naive given the challenge of getting 67 votes to convict regardless of whether the GOP also wins control of the Senate.
As part of Biden’s first workday as president, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) introduced H.R. 57.
The resolution called for the impeachment of Biden for “enabling bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors” allegedly committed by his son Hunter while he served as vice president.
The bill did not have a co-sponsor, and many of Greene’s colleagues thought it was a joke.
Today, the situation is different.
There have since been additional impeachment articles introduced by at least eight Republican members of the House, including Greene, over everything from border security to COVID-19 policies.
There seems to be a lot of support for a resolution introduced by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), who once was the Freedom Caucus chairman.
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His plan is to impeach Mayorkas because of border issues.
There are 29 cosponsors of his measure.
Over 221,000 migrants were apprehended by Border Patrol in March, which is the highest number yet under President Joe Biden, and many members of Congress are concerned that number is only going to increase after Biden lifts Title 42.
When Republicans sweep the House in November, it will be time to get the ball rolling.