Expulsion Resolution Against Santos: A Bold Democratic Move to Force a Vote

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In a dramatic turn of events on Capitol Hill, Democratic Representative Robert Garcia of California has taken a bold step by introducing a resolution aimed at expelling indicted Republican Representative George Santos of New York. This move comes in the wake of a damning House Ethics Committee investigation into Santos’s conduct, which has sent shockwaves through the political landscape.

Resolution Sparks Controversy

The resolution proposed by Garcia carries significant weight, as it is considered privileged. This means that GOP leadership must address the matter within two legislative days, unless another expulsion resolution takes precedence. Notably, GOP Representative Anthony D’Esposito of New York also introduced a separate privileged resolution seeking to expel Santos. This resolution, which had been initially introduced by House Ethics Chairman Michael Guest, a Republican from Mississippi, before Thanksgiving, adds to the growing momentum to remove Santos from office.

Santos’s Past Struggles

It is important to note that Santos has previously survived attempts to oust him from the House. However, the current situation is marked by a shift in sentiment among Republicans. Following the ethics investigation, several Republicans who had previously not supported expulsion have indicated a change of heart. While the outcome remains uncertain, Santos expressed confidence in the effort’s success. Expulsion is a rare occurrence and requires a two-thirds majority vote in the House.

Santos’s response to the looming expulsion vote was defiant. He stated, “If my fellow members of Congress want to send me home, if they believe this process is fair and constitutional, then God bless their hearts.” He further criticized the political theater within the Capitol, lamenting its impact on the American people.

In a firm stance on the House floor, Santos declared, “To set the record straight and put this in the record: I will not be resigning.”

Leadership Test for House Speaker

This renewed push to expel Santos presents a significant leadership test for House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican. According to GOP Representative Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, Speaker Johnson has spoken with Santos, suggesting that resignation is one of the options to consider. This move reflects an attempt to avoid a contentious expulsion vote, as key House Republicans remain divided on the matter.

While Speaker Johnson did not explicitly call for Santos’s resignation, he encouraged the embattled congressman to “thoughtfully consider what would be best for the institution.” GOP Representative Dusty Johnson of South Dakota confirmed this approach following a meeting in the speaker’s office.

CNN has reached out to the speaker’s office for comment, seeking further insights into his stance.

Uncertainty Surrounding the Speaker’s Decision

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota has revealed that Speaker Johnson has not yet finalized his approach to the expulsion efforts. Emmer dismissed Garcia’s attempt to force the issue through his privileged resolution, emphasizing that Republicans are not concerned with Democratic actions. He also stated that they would not whip the vote if it reaches the floor.

In response to the release of the ethics report, a spokesperson for Speaker Johnson expressed concern over the report’s “very troubling findings” and urged lawmakers, including Santos, to consider the institution’s best interests as the matter progresses.

Ethics Committee’s Findings

The Ethics Committee’s report uncovered additional “uncharged and unlawful conduct” by Santos, extending beyond the pending criminal allegations against him. These findings are set to be referred to the Justice Department for further investigation. The committee’s conclusion was damning, stating that Santos had “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”

In response to the committee’s report, Santos announced that he would not seek reelection but vehemently denounced the investigation, labeling it as a “biased report.”

Separately, Santos faces 23 federal charges, including allegations related to fraud concerning Covid-19 unemployment benefits, misuse of campaign funds, and providing false information about his personal finances on House disclosure reports.

Previous Expulsion Efforts

In early November, a Republican-led effort to expel Santos had failed. Many lawmakers expressed concerns about expelling a member who was facing an ongoing legal battle without a criminal conviction. Santos had defended his right to the “presumption of innocence” in the lead-up to the vote.

In May, the House had voted to refer a Democrat-led resolution seeking Santos’s expulsion to the Ethics Committee.

The situation surrounding Representative George Santos’s potential expulsion from the House is reaching a critical juncture. With the introduction of a privileged resolution by Democratic Representative Robert Garcia, the stage is set for a contentious debate and vote. The outcome remains uncertain, and the decision will have far-reaching implications for both the Republican Party and the institution as a whole.

As this high-stakes political drama unfolds, it underscores the challenges faced by Congress in addressing allegations of misconduct by its members. The American people are closely watching the proceedings, and the fate of George Santos hangs in the balance.

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