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Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz said the Senate’s failure to hold a full trial of Alejandro Mayorkas was “a travesty.”
Jose Luis Magana/AP

Republicans Say Democrats Will Pay for Dismissing Mayorkas’ Impeachment

“It’s a slippery slope,” Sen. Chuck Grassley warned.

Republicans said Wednesday that Democrats will regret their decision to dismiss articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas — whether it be through losing elections or legislative hijinks.

“There may be consequences for Schumer doing something unprecedented,” Sen. Ron Johnson warned.

The long-expected dismissal came after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer attempted to appease Republican anger by suggesting debate and votes on motions by Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee, who wanted a trial. Republican Sen. Eric Schmitt objected. In the end, the Senate voted 51 to 49 to dismiss both articles of impeachment against Mayorkas, leaving him in his post at the helm of the department.

Many Republicans predicted voters would punish Democrats for the party-line vote.

“I think the people will be very upset in the November election,” Sen. Joni Ernst told NOTUS.

Cruz, part of the conservative bloc of senators who tried desperately to force a trial, called the vote to dismiss the articles “a travesty to the American people.” He added on the Senate floor, “By the way, every cabinet member, guess what? You’ve just been given a blank slate to ignore the law.”

“I hope the American people hold them accountable,” Cruz told NOTUS leaving the chamber. “They just said they do not care about the suffering their open-border policies are causing.”

At a press conference after the articles were dismissed, Schumer rejected the impeachment as a “political show” over what was fundamentally a policy disagreement.

“If we allowed that to happen, it would set a disastrous precedent for Congress to throw our system of checks and balances into cycles of chaos,” Schumer said.

He said while the border is a serious issue, Republicans should address it by backing a bipartisan reform bill instead of pushing to remove the secretary.

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy said he understood Republican frustration over the process but echoed Schumer that impeachment was not the right path forward: “I don’t deny that this is a different Senate process. But the risk of normalizing what the House did is bigger than the risk of establishing new precedent in the Senate.”

GOP senators leaving the chamber argued that the impeachment was important to the American people.

“Tell it to the Riley family that this doesn’t matter,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said, referring to Laken Riley, a nursing student in Georgia who was killed in February, allegedly by an unauthorized immigrant.

Democrats may not have to wait until November to experience the consequences of their impeachment decision. Lee threatened Tuesday to disrupt the unanimous consent procedures of the Senate.

“I think we have an obligation on our side to make clear that that’s not OK,” said Lee. “And that doesn’t involve simply looking past this as they run roughshod over the Constitution.”

Now that precedent has been broken, Republicans hinted they could return the favor one day. Some predicted this was effectively the end of impeachment being taken seriously in the Senate.

“Precedents are pretty important,” Sen. Chuck Grassley said. “It’s a slippery slope.”

Ben T.N. Mause and Ryan Hernández are NOTUS reporters and Allbritton Journalism Institute fellows.