WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on Wednesday agreed on a motion to refer to the Ethics Committee a Democratic-sponsored resolution to expel New York Republican Rep. George Santos from Congress.
The motion led by Republicans was approved 221-204, with seven Democrats voting present.
The expulsion resolution introduced by freshman California Democratic Rep. Robert Garcia was privileged, meaning when it was introduced on Tuesday, House Republicans had two days to bring the measure to the floor.
But Wednesday’s vote means the resolution now will be considered by the bipartisan Ethics Committee and Republicans do not have to take another vote on the matter unless it returns to the floor. The committee already had been investigating Santos.
“We all know that Representative George Santos is a liar and a fraud and should be expelled from Congress,” Garcia said during a Wednesday press conference.
The move is an effort to force Republicans to take a vote on whether they support Santos or not, Garcia said.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, has a slim majority in the House and can only afford to lose a handful of votes on any bills brought to the floor.
Santos has spent his freshman year in Congress mired in numerous scandals, including multiple discrepancies in his resume. He faces 13 federal charges for money laundering, wire fraud, stealing public money and making false statements to Congress about personal financial disclosure reports.
He pleaded not guilty to those federal charges.
Various news outlets have uncovered that Santos fabricated many stories about his life, including claims that his mother was killed during the 9/11 terrorist attack, that he lost several employees in the Pulse shooting massacre, that his grandparents survived the Holocaust, and that he earned degrees from New York University and Baruch College.
Earlier this year, Santos stepped down from his committee assignments.
“Taken together, the allegations in the indictment charge Santos with relying on repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend to the halls of Congress and enrich himself,” Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York said in a statement.
“He used political contributions to line his pockets, unlawfully applied for unemployment benefits that should have gone to New Yorkers who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and lied to the House of Representatives,” Peace continued.
Santos is due back in federal court on June 30.