The House of Representatives voted on May 17 to refer a resolution to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) to the Ethics Committee, despite a concerted push to remove the lawmaker due to his alleged crimes.
The GOP motion to refer the bill was approved with a vote of 221-204, primarily along party lines, as all Republicans voted in favor. All five Democrats on the Ethics Committee essentially abstained by voting “present.”
The privileged resolution was introduced by Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.), who attempted to force a vote on the issue, increasing the pressure on House Republicans to take action against the disgraced Republican.
Santos, who is a first-term Republican, was charged with 13 federal crimes and arrested on May 10. He was released shortly thereafter and maintains his innocence.
Garcia called on Republicans to take action against Santos after introducing the resolution, saying in a Twitter post: “I’m starting the process of forcing a floor vote on our resolution to expel George Santos from the U.S. House of Representatives. Republicans will now have a chance to demonstrate to the American people that an admitted liar and criminal should not serve in Congress.
“George Santos is a fraud and a liar, and he needs to be expelled by the House,” Garcia alleged in his statement posted to Twitter, going on to cite the charges against Santos, saying they should have been the “final straw” for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
Santos reacted to the news in a statement shared by Punchbowl’s Mica Soellner, saying, “Fortunately, justice is blind in our country, and everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
“Regrettably so[,] Rep. Garcia and the Democrats are playing the roles of bias[ed] judge and jury. Expelling me is silencing 145k+ voters who sent me here to represent them and taking the voice away from 700k people.”
Garcia’s resolution is privileged, which means that according to the House Rules and Precedents, the Republican-controlled House was forced to take it up within the next two congressional days.
To pass the resolution and remove Santos from Congress, the measure would have needed a two-thirds majority vote, which would have required significant bipartisan support.
The 13-count indictment against Santos, unsealed on May 10, charged the congressman with defrauding prospective political supporters by laundering funds to pay for his personal expenses and illegally receiving unemployment benefits while employed.
Prosecutors also allege that he made false statements to the House of Representatives regarding his assets, income, and liabilities.
“This indictment seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace said in a statement.
When asked about the expulsion of Santos shortly after the resolution was introduced, McCarthy said he would like to refer the issue to the House Ethics Committee.
“I don’t want to wait around for the courts to act,” McCarthy told reporters on May 16. “What I would like to do is have the House take action and have a process here. So let’s send it to Ethics, which has an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. I think they could do this work rather rapidly and come back and report to the full House.”
The House Speaker also reiterated previous comments that there is “a process” and Santos, like other lawmakers who have been accused of crimes, is considered innocent until proven guilty.
Santos’s office did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.
From The Epoch Times