Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) may be an admitted liar and the subject of a 13-count federal criminal indictment, but he’ll also be something else for at least a little longer: a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
House Republicans avoided a vote Wednesday on whether to expel Santos from Congress, voting unanimously instead to refer an expulsion resolution to the House Ethics Committee. That’s the same committee the resolution was initially sent to in February without seeing any action since.
The vote was 221–204. Santos voted in favor of the referral.
Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) led the charge to have an expulsion vote, authoring the resolution and warning Republicans they would be supporting Santos if they voted for the referral.
“With power comes great responsibility, and the representative from New York has clearly no interest in the public good,” Garcia said at a press conference.
Expelling a member takes a two-thirds majority of House members under the U.S. Constitution, so Garcia’s resolution would have needed substantial GOP support to be successful, even if it had gotten an up-or-down vote.
That was unlikely to happen after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) signaled Tuesday he believed the Ethics Committee was a better venue for the issue.
“I think there’s enough information out there now that they could start looking at this and I think they could come back to Congress probably faster than a court case,” McCarthy said.
After the defeat of the expulsion vote, Garcia said he would continue to pursue Santos, tweeting, “We will continue to hold him and those who protect him accountable for his fraud and lies.”
Santos has already stepped off of his assigned congressional committees, as required under House GOP rules when a member has been indicted. He has denied the criminal charges, saying, “The reality is, it’s a witch hunt.” He has also said he will not resign.