When it comes to the current situation at the border, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and his conference decided on a highly "partisan" solution, namely impeaching DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Yesterday, the House voted on the articles of impeachment and, at least for now, they went down in flames.
The final vote was 214 for, 216 against. However, that is because Rep. Blake Moore (R-UT) switched to "nay" at the last moment, to preserve his right to bring up the articles again. In other words, the real vote was 215-215. All of the Democrats voted against, as did three Republican members: Ken Buck (CO), Mike Gallagher (WI) and Tom McClintock (CA). Unlike Moore, those three meant their "nay" votes. Republican members surrounded Gallagher on the floor and tried to harass him into changing his mind, but they were obviously not successful.
There was much drama, as both parties dragged nearly every member into the House chamber, whether or not they were really fit to be there. In particular, Rep. Al Green (D-TX), who is recovering from cancer surgery, was wheeled onto the floor of the House, shoeless. He did not sing "Here I Am," but he did vote against impeachment. There was some Republican whining about Green's last-minute arrival, in particular from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). However, there were also some Republicans who made surprise appearances, notably Hal Rogers (R-KY), who is recovering from a car wreck and who was wearing a large neck brace when he cast his vote.
The only member who was not present was House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), who is receiving treatment for cancer. At the moment, Johnson and others are vowing that a second vote will be held once he's back in town. Maybe so, but it's no certainty. First, it was pretty embarrassing for the vote to fail one time; once heads have cooled, they might decide a second, larger embarrassment is not wise. Second, all it takes is for one more Republican to get skittish in order for Scalise's vote to be irrelevant. Third, the House is not scheduled to be in session again until the middle of next week. By then, the special election for "George Santos'" seat will have been held, and Democrat Tom Suozzi might well be seated as the replacement. If so, that would also moot Scalise's vote.
There was also another bill that came up yesterday as part of all of this maneuvering. That was Johnson's Israel-only funding bill, which was designed to undermine the Senate's border/Israel/Ukraine/Taiwan megabill. The bill failed; while it attracted more "yeas" than "nays" (250 to 180), it was considered under suspension of regular order. So, to pass, it would have needed 284 votes.
In short, Johnson suffered two high-profile failures yesterday, adding to the evidence that he is no Nancy Pelosi. In fact, he may be no Kevin McCarthy. (Z)