Democratic Rep. Al Green of Texas was in a hospital bed recovering from intestinal surgery on Tuesday as the Republican-led House was about to vote on.
So, it came as a surprise to his colleagues when he showed up at the last minute on the House floor Tuesday night in what appeared to be his hospital garb.
In a conversation with CBS News, Green said that once he learned the impeachment vote was happening, he spoke with his doctors to obtain clearance to go to the Capitol, with medical staff accompanying him. Ultimately,was 214 in favor of impeachment and 216 against, an outcome that was made possible by Green’s vote. Three Republicans had voted “no” before Green’s arrival at the Capitol, and the tally stood at 215-214. Green cast the tying vote, which defeated the impeachment resolution.
Rep. Blake Moore of Utah then switched his vote in order to give GOP leaders the opportunity to bring up the vote again when there are enough Republicans present to pass the measure. The three Republicans who opposed impeaching Mayorkas do not think his conduct rises to the level of an impeachable offense. Those three Republican defectors were Rep. Tom McClintock of California, Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado and Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin.
“Well, I’ll be very honest with you,” Green said. “If it had not been the vote that made the difference, and if the vote had gone the other way, I would feel good about myself because I would have done all that I could.”
Speaker Mike Johnson called the failed vote a “setback” but told CBS News he expects the articles will pass when Republicans hold another vote “in the next round.” Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, one of the Republicans who voted against impeaching Mayorkas, indicated the House could vote again, once, a Louisiana Republican, returns to work. Scalise has been working remotely as he undergoes cancer treatment.
“We have a razor-thin margin here and every vote counts,” Johnson said. “Sometimes, when you’re counting votes, and people show up when they aren’t expected to be in the building, it changes the equation. But listen, we have a duty and a responsibility to take care of this issue.”
Green, who returned to his hospital bed after the vote, said he was “not pressured” by any Democrats on Capitol Hill to come in for the vote. Green said he notified House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and Jeffries never “convinced” him to head to the Capitol.
Asked why he thought it was important to return to vote, Green said, “because Secretary Mayorkas is a good man.”
“I know of his good deeds beyond what you read in the newspapers. I know that he’s doing the best job that he can with the laws that Congress has,” Green said.
Green said Mayorkas is “limited” because the laws that would benefit his department have not been passed. A bipartisan agreement on border security, which senators hammered out for weeks, fell apart on Capitol Hill this week over Republican opposition.
Green said he’ll be in the hospital for a few more days as he recovers, but he’s confident he’ll be OK.