Democrats Pressure Republicans to Vote This Week to Expel Santos


House Democrats on Tuesday moved to force a vote this week on whether to expel Representative George Santos of New York from office, a strategic effort to prevent Republican leadership from slow-rolling any bid to push one of their own out of office.

The Democratic effort, led by Representatives Robert Garcia of California and Dan Goldman of New York, comes shortly after another resolution introduced this month by the Republican chairman of the House Ethics Committee, following its scathing report that found “substantial evidence” that Mr. Santos, a Republican, had violated the law.

When the ethics chairman, Representative Michael Guest of Mississippi, introduced his resolution on Nov. 17, he did so without attaching a timeline. Since then, Republicans have debated whether to shield or expel Mr. Santos, aware that either path could come with grave costs.

But the resolution from Democrats is privileged, meaning that Speaker Mike Johnson must address it within two days. Republicans could still move to table or postpone the vote, moves that would each require the support of a majority of the House. Those maneuvers would not rule out a vote on Mr. Guest’s resolution, however, if Republican leadership chooses to act on its own party’s motion to lessen the appearance of Democrats forcing the Republicans’ hand.

“We waited for 11 months for the Republicans to act. I don’t have any faith that they will act as they say they want to,” Mr. Goldman told reporters outside the chamber, adding that anyone who could not see that Mr. Santos did not belong in Congress was a “pure political animal.”

“He has clearly committed massive crimes. He has lied to his constituents, his whole life is a fabrication,” Mr. Garcia said. “He himself is prepared to be expelled.”

Speaker Mike Johnson refused to answer questions about Mr. Santos’s future as he entered the chamber Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Santos has survived two expulsion efforts after numerous reports in The New York Times and other publications exposed his fabricated life story and federal prosecutors charged him with 23 felonies. Removing Mr. Santos from the House would requite a two-thirds supermajority.

But since the Ethics Committee’s report was released, a number of members from both parties who previously opposed expelling Mr. Santos said that their thinking had shifted.

House Democrats have attempted to use Mr. Santos as a political weapon since he took office in January amid a swirl of questions about his background and his personal and campaign finances. The Democrats’ campaign arm has targeted a number of first-term Republican representatives in New York who flipped their districts and helped their party seize a narrow majority in Congress.

These Republicans have been some of Mr. Santos’s most outspoken critics, and were among the first to join Democrats in calling for his resignation.

Earlier this month, they led the second effort to expel Mr. Santos, arguing that whatever precedent would be set would be for the good of the chamber.

“We are going to set a new precedent today — that we are against lying fraudsters coming to the House of Representatives,” Representative Anthony D’Esposito announced on the House floor.

There are indications that some of those arguments have taken hold.

In an interview with a Mississippi radio station, Mr. Guest said that he believed that removal was appropriate for Mr. Santos, given the violations that the committee had unearthed.

But he too was already handicapping the impact of Mr. Santos’s expulsion on the party’s majority. “Other New Yorkers think that we do have a chance to keep that seat if he is removed,” he said.

“I think that would actually help,” the interviewer offered.

“No doubt,” Mr. Guest agreed.

Mr. Santos has pledged to remain in office as long as he is allowed. He called the ethics report a “smear” but has declined to offer any details or context that would support his claims.

For a moment on Monday afternoon, however, it appeared as though Mr. Santos might have shifted his stance.

Mr. Johnson told reporters in Florida that he had spoken at length with Mr. Santos “about his options,” comments that suggested Mr. Santos might spare the House a difficult vote by resigning.

But Mr. Santos, who has repeatedly said he would not resign, clarified in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that he had no intention of stepping down.

“Expel me and set the precedent so we can see who the judge, jury and executioners in Congress are,” he wrote. “The American people deserve to know!”

In anticipation of the coming vote, the liberal group MoveOn on Tuesday brought a 15-foot inflatable balloon of Mr. Santos to the National Mall, just blocks from the Capitol.

The balloon, part of an effort to pressure lawmakers to expel Mr. Santos, sported his characteristic thick-rimmed glasses as well as a red tie emblazoned with the phrase “full of lies.”



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