Johnson warns Senate on immigration talks and vows to impeach Mayorkas soon

House Speaker Mike Johnson is warning in a new letter that the emerging border deal is “dead on arrival” in his chamber if it resembles anything close to what has been reported, while also announcing that the House will soon vote to make Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the second Cabinet secretary in history to be impeached.

While the Senate deal has not been released and negotiators warn that the leaks of the package have not been accurate, Johnson’s warning on Friday underscores the high hurdle lawmakers face to pass a major national security package that includes aid to Ukraine and Israel.

Johnson reiterated demands to pass the House GOP’s immigration bill known as HR 2 even though that plan has no chance of passing the Senate.

In the letter, Johnson wrote, “I wanted to provide a brief update regarding the supplemental and the border since the Senate appears unable to reach any agreement. If rumors about the contents of the draft proposal are true, it would have been dead on arrival in the House anyway.”

Johnson said that the House Homeland Security Committee would move ahead next week in committee with articles of impeachment for Mayorkas and “a vote on the floor will be held as soon as possible thereafter.”

Johnson’s move comes as former President Donald Trump has injected himself once again into an immigration showdown on Capitol Hill and as Johnson reiterated his calls for President Joe Biden to use executive action to enforce the border using his executive powers.

“Many of our constituents have asked an important question ‘what is the point of negotiating new laws with an administration that will not enforce the laws already on the books,” Johnson wrote. “If President Biden wants us to believe he is serious about protecting our national sovereignty, he needs to demonstrate his good faith by taking immediate actions to secure it. He should sign an order right now to end the mass release of illegals and dangerous persons into our country.”

The pronouncement comes as Senate leaders have said that bill text could be released as soon as next week. It also highlights a major fault line between the new speaker and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has spent the last six months advocating that his party must deliver aid to Ukraine as the country continues its fight against Russia.

On Thursday, McConnell made clear again to his conference that he views the funding as essential and the emerging border deal as the major opportunity for the party to get major concessions on the border.

But Trump has argued that tackling the border would only undermine his bid for the White House, handing Biden a victory on an issue that would otherwise be a major vulnerability for him in November.

“A Border Deal now would be another Gift to the Radical Left Democrats. They need it politically, but don’t care about our Border,” Trump said in a statement Thursday. “What is currently being worked on in the Senate will be meaningless in terms of Border Security and Closure.”

He added, “If you want to have a really Secure Border, your ONLY HOPE is to vote for TRUMP2024.”

Border deal nears in the Senate as House prepares to impeach Mayorkas

In the Senate, leaders say border negotiators are close to releasing bill text that will finally cement what the emerging deal includes and be a major test to see whether it can get the GOP votes it needs to pass.

“Soon. Hopefully soon,” Republican Whip John Thune said when asked when he believes the text will be out.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican from West Virginia, warned that it was time to “land the plane.”

Late this week, negotiators were still haggling over how to pay for agreed-upon policies related to raising the credible fear standard for asylum-seekers and broadening the administration’s expulsion powers. GOP leadership said there was still work to be done on the issue of parole, which had remained a key point of contention in the talks.

But beyond getting a deal, a critical question will be if the bill can garner a strong enough coalition of Republican votes in the Senate to put pressure on the House to act and reverse what appears to be a hardening position by leaders in that chamber.

Making things more complicated, House Republicans are moving aggressively to impeach Mayorkas, an early figure in the bipartisan border talks on Capitol Hill even as sources told CNN at the time Mayorkas was only there only to provide technical expertise.

Next week, the House Homeland Security Committee will move to mark up articles of impeachment against Mayorkas. In the letter, Johnson made clear he wants to move swiftly to floor action once the committee votes. While Johnson faces a shrinking majority due to retirements and absences, a number of Republicans running for reelection in swing districts have already signaled they could back the measure, which would be a historic moment for a conference that has been sharply divided for months.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

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