Friday 9 February 2024

Scalise Expects Return Next Week, Could Break Mayorkas Impeachment Standoff

 The office of Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) announced on Thursday that the lawmaker’s battle against blood cancer is going well and he plans to return to Capitol Hill next week, potentially giving House Republicans the key vote they need to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a second try.

Scalise has been out of Washington and working remotely for several weeks to undergo a stem cell transplant and then recover from the treatment. His absence has effectively made a slim GOP majority in the House even narrower. But even with Scalise expected to make a comeback, the margin is poised to change again with a special election to fill a vacancy in New York scheduled for next week.

“Leader Scalise has successfully completed his autologous stem cell treatment and has been medically cleared to resume travel. He is in complete remission and will be returning to Washington next week for votes,” Scalise’s office said in a brief statement. “He is thankful for his positive prognosis, and for the support of his medical team, family, colleagues, and fellow Louisianans.”

Scalise was the sole missing vote when the GOP-led House held a vote on Tuesday to impeach Mayorkas over his handling of the border crisis. Three GOP lawmakers broke ranks and joined all voting Democrats, resulting in a tie that would have made the effort a failure. But GOP Vice Chairman Blake Moore (R-UT) changed his vote to oppose the resolutiona “procedural” move allowing the House to consider it.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) told reporters on Wednesday that House Republicans will prevail the next time the chamber considers the articles of impeachment. He also said “democracy is messy” and talked about how the “razor thin margin” House Republicans have over the Democrats makes for a challenge when considering measures on the floor.

“Sometimes when you’re counting votes and people show up when they’re not expected to be in the building, that changes the equation,” Johnson said, alluding to Rep. Al Green (D-TX), who showed up at the last moment to cast his vote against impeachment while in a wheelchair after being rushed from a hospital where he has been recovering from abdominal surgery.


The House has not yet scheduled an exact time for a second go at impeaching Mayorkas, but Democrat leadership urged their members to be ready for the resolution to be brought to the floor again as early as Tuesday, when the first votes of the week are expected.

There are currently four vacancies in the House, which has 435 members when at full strength, but that will soon change. With New York expected to hold its special election to replace now-former Rep. George Santos (R-NY) next week, the Democrats may have another member in their ranks. Other special elections to fill other vacancies will follow in the coming weeks and months.

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