Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) Montana’s two U.S. Senators on Wednesday split their vote on a GOP attempt to hold an impeachment trial for Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, though both called upon the Biden administration to address ongoing issues at the southern border.

The impeachment effort failed with a bipartisan majority voting in opposition, including all Democrats and several Republicans, one of which described Wednesday’s effort as the “dumbest exercise and use of time.”

Sen. Jon tester, who backed a failed bipartisan border bill in February, voted against impeachment but joined Republicans and many Democrats in calling on Biden and Mayorkas to apply their executive authorities to help secure the border.

“What’s happening at our southern border is completely unacceptable, and the Biden Administration must do more to keep Montana and our country safe,” Tester said. “Montanans want real solutions that secure the border, not partisan games from D.C. politicians. I agree with my Republican colleagues who have said this (impeachment) exercise is a distraction that fails to make our country safer.”

Sen. Steve Daines voted to support the impeachment proceedings and said Senate Democrats “chose to sweep this crisis under the rug” while ignoring their constitutional duty by killing the impeachment trial.

“Every Senate Democrat proved that they would rather turn a blind eye to the failures of President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas than hold them accountable for endangering the safety of the American people,” Daines said.

Back in February, Daines voted against a bipartisan border bill that authors from both parties said would secure the border and help tackle the fentanyl crisis, among other things. On Wednesday, after the impeachment effort failed, Daines described issues at the southern border as “the number one issue for American’s today.”

“It’s no longer an immigration debate, it’s a severe national security threat,” he said. “Each month more and more illegals who are on the FBI’s terror watch list stream across the border, with many coming from nations designated by President Biden’s own State Department as state sponsors of terrorism.”

Wednesday’s vote fell well short of the 67 votes needed to remove Mayorkas from office. Several Senate Republicans said the secretary had not committed an impeachable offense.

“I just have not seen anything that the House has presented to us that would rise to an impeachable offense of high crimes and misdemeanors,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

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