Mike Johnson/AFP
House Speaker Mike Johnson AFP

House Speaker Mike Johnson announced that the beginning of impeachment proceedings against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will be delayed until next week.

"To ensure the Senate has adequate time to perform its constitutional duty, the House will transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate next week," said Taylor Haulsee, a spokesman for Johnson on Tuesday.

The announcement comes after Senate Republicans urged Johnson to take such a measure so they could debate the issue at the beginning of the week, rather than at the end, when they are gearing up to fly back to their respective home states.

"I'm very grateful to Speaker Johnson for his bold willingness to delay this," said Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. "We don't want this to come over on the eve of the moment when members might be operating under the influence of jet fuel intoxication. That was precisely the plan and it's much better for us to do this at the beginning of a legislative week, rather than toward the end."

The decision also maintains the issue under the spotlight for a few more days, as Democrats were ready to quickly dismiss or table the impeachment articles and move on, Axios reported on Tuesday. Republicans, in contrast, demand a full trial on Mayorkas for what they claim is a mismanagement of border security even if they know the cabinet member is highly unlikely to actually be impeached.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas AFP

"There is no reason whatsoever for the Senate to abdicate its responsibility to hold an impeachment trial," said Haulsee, Johnson's spokesperson.

If Democrats can muster a simple majority (that is, 51 votes) they can dismiss the trial outright or move to table the two articles (of impeachment) ending the House's effort. To get to that number, all Democrats and the chamber's three independents would have to vote for the motion.

They could also get Republicans to vote for it, which might actually be the case for some. Asked if Republicans would present a unified front, Senate Whip John Thune seemed to hint that wouldn't be the case, saying he thinks "the large majority, for sure, will be very unified."

Mayorkas has been formally accused of mishandling efforts to enforce immigration laws, especially when it comes to the implementation of a series of family reunification parole programs, which allowed some foreign nationals to wait in the U.S. for immigration visas.

The first article of impeachment against the Secretary claims he displayed a "willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law," and the second that he breached public trust by having "knowingly made false statements, and knowingly obstructed lawful oversight of the Department of Homeland Security."

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