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Political roundup: Mayorkas impeachment, NY special election and student loan forgiveness

NewsPolitical roundup: Mayorkas impeachment, NY special election and student loan forgiveness

ETHAN GRANDIN
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Mayorkas’ impeachment

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 214-213 to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Feb. 14. 

This vote came after a failed impeachment vote on Feb. 7 in which some House Republicans joined House Democrats in opposing the impeachment vote. 

However, with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise back from cancer treatment, he helped pass this vote, allowing Republicans to pass the impeachment with a narrow margin. 

With this impeachment headed to the Democrat-controlled Senate, it is unlikely to pass.

“This impeachment effort clearly fails to meet the Constitution’s threshold for impeachable offenses,” the Biden administration said in a press release

“Impeaching Secretary Mayorkas would be an unprecedented and unconstitutional act of political retribution that would do nothing to solve the challenges our Nation faces,” President Joe Biden said.

Republicans supported impeachment efforts.

“Alejandro Mayorkas deserves to be impeached, and Congress has a constitutional obligation to do so,” Speaker of the House Mike Johnson said.

With border crossings from Mexico in December reaching an all-time high, the situation has become a major issue for the Biden administration and could have major ramifications for the upcoming 2024 presidential election. 

Many Republicans in Congress see the U.S.-Mexico border as one of the issues of national concern.

“As the leader of our party, there is zero chance I will support this horrible, open borders betrayal of America,” former President Donald Trump and presumed Republican front-runner for the presidency said at an event in Nevada this past January. “It’s not going to happen, and I’ll fight it all the way.”

New York special election

Tom Suozzi, a long-time fixture in New York Democratic politics, won the special election, taking the seat of former Congressman George Santos.

Suozzi, a former representative in New York’s Congressional District 3 from 2017 to 2023, chose not to run in the 2022 midterm election.

Santos was expelled from the House of Representatives this past December in a vote after a House Ethics Committee report revealed multiple scandals by the former congressman. 

Suozzi started a career in politics as mayor of Glen Cove, New York and was elected county executive of Nassau County, Long Island. 

He had many challenges in the position of county executive; he was the first Democrat in the position in nearly 30 years. He was well known locally for balancing Nassau County’s desperate budget issues at the time.

Mazi Melesa Pilip, Suozzi’s opponent, was originally born in Ethiopia and subsequently moved to Israel, where she became a part of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). 

Pilip claimed to be a paratrooper in the IDF, and in many campaign images she presented a photo of herself holding a firearm.

“[She] was an armorer maintaining weapons in the paratrooper’s brigade, not a paratrooper or trained parachutist,” The New York Times reported. 

Although Pilip’s ardent support for Israel was a mainstay of her campaign, it became a focal point following the Hamas attack last October. 

According to Pilip’s campaign website and her 10-point plan, it is one of her highest priorities.

Suozzi and Pilip may once again face each other in the upcoming 2024 election this November. With Suozzi now elected, it provides Democrats the opportunity to narrow the Republican lead in the House of Representatives.

Last December, the New York State Supreme Court ruled that district maps must be redrawn by the state’s redistricting commission, in which Republicans and Democrats must draw a new map together. 

Biden offers more student loan forgiveness 

Earlier this month, President Biden announced he would cancel $1.2 billion in student debt

Last June, the Supreme Court struck down Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan in a 6-3 ruling along partisan lines. 

“Today’s decision has closed one path,” Biden said in a speech responding to the court ruling in June.

That other path seems to be the president canceling student debt on a smaller scale. The original proposal was a cancellation of $400 billion.

This illustrates many challenges that the Biden campaign now faces, although a recent poll by Quinnipiac put the president above his presumed challenger, Trump.

According to The New York Times, those who “originally borrowed up to $12,000 and who have made at least 10 years of qualifying monthly payments will have their debt wiped out” for this round of relief announced on Feb. 14.

The affected borrowers received an email notifying them on the delivery of their debt relief.

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