Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) on Wednesday criticized the House impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as a partisan detour from Congress’s important work.
Asked about the merits of trying Mayorkas on impeachment charges in the Senate, Murkowski said lawmakers need to focus on funding the government instead.
“Oh my goodness. We’re busy, right? To have to take a detour from the important work that’s going on,” she said.
The Alaska senator, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, cited an upcoming meeting on legislation to fund the government through 2024 and the need to fund national security needs in a defense supplemental.
“I’ve got a four-corners meeting as an appropriator tomorrow; we’re trying to get the security supplemental advanced. If we have to deal with an impeachment proceeding that’s going to come across on a wholly partisan vote, there’s more important things,” she said.
Murkowski is one of several Republican senators questioning the wisdom of impeaching Mayorkas without clear evidence he broke the law or committed an impeachable offense.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Mayorkas simply appeared to be “carrying out the policies of the White House,” though she cautioned she would be a juror in any Senate impeachment trial and would not declare a verdict before hearing the case.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) raised concerns earlier this month about the Senate getting sidetracked into a partisan impeachment trial.
“We’ve got so many things to do. I don’t think impeachment was something intended to be brought up every three months or every two months,” Capito, a member of the Senate GOP leadership team, said at the time.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday denounced the 18-15 partisan vote in the House Homeland Security Committee to impeach Mayorkas as a “sham.”
“What House Republicans are doing by advancing this sham impeachment effort is denigrating our Constitution, all for the sake of appeasing one person and one person only — Donald Trump,” he said. “And let this be clear, this unserious spectacle by House Republicans does nothing, nothing, to secure the border.”
The last time the House presented to the Senate articles of impeachment against a federal officeholder below the level of president was in 2010, when the House impeached Louisiana judge Thomas Porteous.
The Senate that year referred the matter to a special bipartisan evidentiary committee and didn’t vote on it until a lame-duck session after the election.