WASHINGTON — The clock has begun ticking for a vote this week to force the removal of the indicted and scandal-plagued Rep. George Santos from Congress after a member of each party on Tuesday filed a privileged motion to expel him.
The House under its rules must hold a roll-call vote on an expulsion motion by Thursday. It's the third attempt this year to oust Santos (R-Nassau/Queens), the subject of a scathing House Ethics Committee report and a 23-count federal indictment.
On Tuesday evening, Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park) read and filed a motion to expel Santos that summarized the ethics report findings, hours after Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) filed his expulsion motion.
Garcia told reporters he filed the motion to force the hand of Republicans to act on Santos, 35, who won the election to represent portions of Nassau and Queens counties in 2022. In May, Republicans referred his motion to expel Santos to the House Ethics Committee.
WHAT TO KNOW
- Rep. George Santos will face a vote to expel him from the U.S. House by Thursday.
- On Tuesday, Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) introduced an expulsion motion, which started the clock for a vote that must be held within two legislative days.
- If the motion passes, Santos would be only the sixth member to be expelled from the House.
“He's completely fabricated and lied to his constituents back home and to his colleagues and to the American public,” Garcia said. “We’ve been trying to get them to expel Santos for months, and so this is to do the right thing and to remove George Santos.”
House Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Guest (R-Miss.) filed an expulsion motion Friday but has not taken the step to force a vote within two legislative days.
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) will determine which motion will be put on the floor and when the House will vote on it this week.
If the House approves the expulsion motion, Santos will become the sixth member to be expelled — the only one who was not convicted in a court of law or found to be disloyal during the Civil War.
Johnson said he has talked with Santos about resigning. But while Santos said he will not run for re-election, he repeatedly has said he will not step down.
Santos has denied the charges against him, vowed to fight federal charges against him in a trial set to begin Sept. 9 and dismissed the Ethics Committee’s report as a “smear job” designed to drive him out of office.
If he is expelled, Santos has indicated he will not leave quietly.
He has announced a Thursday morning news conference on the Capitol steps, and last Friday attacked the ethics report and expulsion supporters in a three-hour livestreaming talk show on X Spaces, formerly known as Twitter Spaces.
The outcome of the expulsion vote could hinge on members’ reaction to the ethics report released Nov. 17 that said Santos broke the law and “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”
The swearing in Tuesday of Republican Celeste Maloy of Utah to fill the House’s last vacant seat also could ease Republicans' concerns about ousting Santos because she would ensure that the House GOP’s eight-vote majority would not change despite Santos’ removal.
The bid to expel Santos must get two-thirds of the House members to approve the motion — about 290 if all vote.
On Nov. 1, Santos survived D’Esposito’s expulsion motion after it fell far short, with 179 voting for expulsion, 213 against it, 19 voting present and 22 not voting at all.
That puts Santos’ fate this week in the hands of the 197 Republicans and 57 Democrats who did not vote for the expulsion.
Several of them said they wanted to see the House Ethics report before voting to expel him. Since the report’s release, some of them say now they will vote yes on the motion.
D’Esposito’s Long Island colleagues Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport) and Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Amityville) said they will vote for expelling Santos from the House.
Santos said he’s resigned to being forced to step down from Congress.
Speaking to reporters outside his congressional office Tuesday, Santos said, “If they want to send me home, if they think this was a fair process, if they think this is how it should be done and if they are confident this is a constitutional way of doing it — God bless their hearts.”
With Laura Figueroa Hernandez