Thursday Could Be Santos' Day of Reckoning

House will vote on expelling him, though Mike Johnson has 'real reservations about doing this'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2023 6:09 PM CST
Updated Nov 29, 2023 11:52 AM CST
Democrats Seek Swift Vote on Expelling Santos
Rep. George Santos talks to reporters as House Republicans hold a caucus meeting at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023.   (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)
UPDATE Nov 29, 2023 11:52 AM CST

Rep. George Santos has survived two votes to expel him from the House, but Thursday could be his day of reckoning. House Speaker Mike Johnson says the House will vote Thursday on ejecting Santos after a damning report from the House Ethics Committee; Johnson says he will allow fellow Republicans to "vote their conscience," the Guardian reports. "We've not whipped the vote and we wouldn't," he said. He added, however, that he personally has "real reservations about doing this," the Hill reports. Johnson said the precedent until now has been that "you have to uphold the rule of law and allow for someone to be convicted in a criminal court before this tough penalty would be exacted on someone."

Nov 28, 2023 6:09 PM CST

Rep. George Santos' days in Congress are numbered whatever happens—after a scathing report from the House Ethics Committee, he said he wouldn't seek reelection in 2024—but Democratic lawmakers are trying to get him kicked out of the House as soon as possible. Democratic Reps. Robert Garcia and Dan Goldman have introduced a privileged motion to force a vote on expelling the New York Republican, meaning the House has to act within two legislative days, Politico reports. "Whatever it takes to get that vote this week, is what we're doing," said Garcia, who initially introduced legislation to eject Santos in February.

It takes a two-thirds vote to expel a House member and Republicans are unlikely to kick a caucus member out of Congress on a resolution introduced by Democrats, but the move puts pressure on House Ethics Committee Chair Michael Guest to move forward with the expulsion resolution he introduced earlier this month, reports Politico. At the time, the Republican committee chair said the evidence of wrongdoing, including stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds, "is more than sufficient to warrant punishment and the most appropriate punishment is expulsion."

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Last Friday, Santos—who survived two previous expulsion attempts—said he knew he was going to be expelled, though he also lashed out at colleagues and claimed he wasn't going anywhere. ABC reports that he remained defiant on Tuesday. "Look, you all want a soundbite. It's the third time we are going through this. I don't care," he said. Santos, who has pleaded not guilty to 23 federal charges, said House members want him to resign but he has no intention of doing so. "They can keep doing this," Santos said. "But my message to them is: put up or shut up." He said Congress should focus on issues like border security instead of expelling lawmakers. (More George Santos stories.)

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