House Republicans Sidestep Effort to Expel George Santos From Congress – Republicans skillfully evade an attempt to compel them into a vote aiming to remove George Santos, the New York representative, from Congress. This move had the potential to reduce their already narrow four-seat majority.
In a strictly partisan manner, the House voted 221-204 to redirect a resolution proposing the expulsion of Santos to the House ethics committee. Interestingly, Santos himself aligned with his Republican counterparts in voting for this redirection. The newly elected congressman is facing charges of embezzlement from his campaign funds, fraudulent receipt of unemployment benefits, and providing false information to Congress regarding his financial matters.
Despite the allegations, he maintains his innocence and has entered a plea of not guilty. In February, Robert Garcia, a Democratic representative from California, proposed a resolution to expel Santos, a rare action that the House has only taken on two occasions in recent decades.
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Garcia aimed to compel a vote on this resolution, presenting Republicans with three options: voting on the resolution, tabling it, or referring it to a committee. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy opted for the third option, much to the dissatisfaction of Democrats who criticized it as a “complete copout.”
Democrats pointed out that the ethics committee is already conducting an investigation into Santos, and they urged Republican House members, who have called for Santos’s resignation, to follow their words with tangible action. “It is simply an effort for the Republicans to avoid having to take an up-or-down vote on whether or not George Santos belongs here,” said Dan Goldman, a New York Democrat. Democrats made a plea to Republican legislators from New York, seeking their support.
Several Republicans in the state have strongly criticized Santos, and they now face the potential risk of Democrats attempting to associate them with Santos in the upcoming general election next year. “I say to you, if you vote for this motion to refer it to the ethics committee, you are complicit in George Santos’ fraud and you are voting to make sure that he continues to be a member of Congress,” Goldman said.
Anthony D’Esposito, a Republican representative from New York, proposed referring the resolution for expulsion to the ethics panel. While expressing his personal support for Santos’s expulsion, he acknowledged with regret that there were insufficient votes to meet the required two-thirds threshold.
“I firmly believe this is the quickest way of ridding the House of Representatives of this scourge on government,” D’Esposito said. Republican leaders have expressed the belief that Santos should have an opportunity to present his case in court before Congress gets involved.
Their stance aligns with the historical precedent established by Congress in handling criminal cases. It is worth noting that the House has expelled only two members in recent years, and those decisions were made after the lawmakers had been found guilty of federal offenses.