Rep. George Santos Survives Effort to Expel Him From Home; Tlaib Censure Bid Fails
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., listens as Republicans attempt to elect Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., to be the brand new Home speaker, on the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023. (AP Photograph/Alex Brandon)
By Kevin Freking, Stephen Groves and Farnoush Amiri
Additionally on Wednesday night, the Home voted to reject an effort to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Democrats referred to as off an effort to censure Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.
The hassle to kick Santos out of the Home was led by his fellow New York Republicans, who’re anxious to distance themselves from a colleague notorious for fabricating his life story and accused of stealing from donors, mendacity to Congress and receiving unemployment advantages he didn’t deserve.
However the decision failed to achieve the required two-thirds vote. Supporters couldn’t even acquire a easy majority, with the ultimate vote being 179 for expulsion and 213 towards.
Some Democrats additionally voiced issues about getting forward of the Ethics Committee, which issued a uncommon memo the day earlier than, citing the depth of its investigation with some 40 witnesses contacted and the issuance of 37 subpoenas. It additionally mentioned the subsequent steps of the committee’s investigation can be introduced by Nov. 17.
“I really feel like due course of continues to be alive. I really feel like there’s sufficient colleagues on each side of the aisle right here who perceive that,” Santos mentioned after the vote.
Congress has hardly ever resorted to essentially the most excessive punishment at its disposal. The Home has expelled solely 5 members in its historical past — three in the course of the Civil Battle and two after their convictions on public corruption prices. It will be groundbreaking for the Home to kick out Santos earlier than his case in federal courtroom is resolved.
Some Republicans, nonetheless, mentioned that they had seen sufficient of Santos. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., mentioned he believes in due course of, but additionally thinks Santos misrepresented himself to New York voters they usually by no means would have elected him if that they had “identified the true George Santos.”
“We don’t want the Santos charade all over the 2024 election cycle. I believe the Congress must take motion now,” Womack mentioned.
The Home flooring debate over whether or not to expel Santos was undertaken strictly by members of the New York congressional delegation. On one aspect, Republican Reps. Anthony D’Esposito, Nick LaLota and Mike Lawler laid out their case for expelling Santos.
“Mr. Santos is a stain on this establishment and never match to serve his constituents within the Home of Representatives,” D’Esposito mentioned.
On the opposite aspect was Santos, who appealed to lawmakers to carry off on expulsion, saying that passing judgment with out due course of would engender distrust.
“I am combating tooth and nail to clear my identify in entrance of the whole world,” Santos mentioned. “It hasn’t been straightforward, however I am combating by God’s grace.”
The one Democratic lawmaker to talk in the course of the debate was Rep. Dan Goldman. He mentioned Santos ought to have been expelled in Might when Democrats introduced an expulsion decision, and the one motive the New York Republicans had been main the hassle now was as a result of Santos “hangs like an albatross across the necks of each single Republican from New York.”
“They don’t care any extra about integrity or morality or the popularity of this establishment than they did in Might after they voted to guard Mr. Santos,” Goldman mentioned. “They only care about their reelection in a single 12 months after they know that their assist for George Santos goes to be an issue.”
The New York Republicans specified by their expulsion decision the array of prices Santos is dealing with in federal courtroom, saying the costs indicated Santos engaged in critical monetary fraud all through his 2022 marketing campaign for the Home. The decision mentioned he deceived voters concerning his biography and is “not match to serve his constituents as United States Consultant.”
“Mr. Santos has mentioned expelling him earlier than he’s formally charged and located responsible would create a brand new precedent on this physique, one that might have detrimental penalties for generations,” LaLota mentioned. “Respectfully, Mr. Speaker, I disagree. The results and precedents of not expelling him for his lies and fraud has the potential to do way more injury to this establishment.”
Johnson, who took the speaker’s gavel final week, made it clear he would like to not oust Santos at this level, regardless of the numerous prices towards the congressman, as Johnson struggles to regulate a really slim majority.
“He’s solely been charged. He hasn’t been discovered responsible of something. We’ve due course of in America,” mentioned GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the chairman of the Home Judiciary Committee, who opposed the expulsion decision.
Democrats had been additionally extra divided than they had been in the course of the earlier expulsion effort towards Santos.
“Neither the Ethics Committee nor the courts have completed adjudicating this,” tweeted Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., who voted towards expulsion. “On this nation, one is presumed harmless till PROVEN responsible. No exceptions.”
Rep. Marc Molinaro, a New York Republican who supported the expulsion effort, mentioned the delegation would seemingly increase it once more as soon as the Ethics Committee releases the findings of its investigation.
“I believe the report goes to return public quickly, and it’s going to be clear that he ought to be faraway from Congress,” he mentioned.
Later yesterday, a measure to maneuver ahead with a censure decision of Tlaib, a punishment one step beneath expulsion from the Home, was dismissed with broad bipartisan assist as each events raised issues about violating First Modification rights.
A Democratic effort to in flip censure Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who had sponsored the Tlaib decision, was referred to as off in response.
The scheduled votes had been among the many Home’s first acts of enterprise after a virtually monthlong gridlock attributable to the elimination of Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California as speaker.
Greene additionally falsely accused Tlaib of “main an rebellion” within the Capitol advanced when she participated in a pro-Gaza rally organized by Jewish advocacy teams final month.
Tlaib referred to as Greene’s decision “unhinged” and mentioned it is “deeply Islamophobic and assaults peaceable Jewish anti-war advocates.”
In response to Greene’s decision, Home Democrats, led by Rep. Becca Balint of Vermont, launched a decision censuring Greene for what they referred to as her report of “racist rhetoric and conspiracy theories.” Balint mentioned Greene’s decision to censure Tlaib “is an overt Islamophobic assault on the one Palestinian-American member of Congress.”
Greene has not commented on the decision to censure her however criticized the handfuls of Republicans who voted towards transferring the Tlaib measure ahead.
The vote on Wednesday night comes because the chamber returns to regular legislative enterprise for the primary time in weeks. The abrupt ouster of McCarthy on Oct. 4 introduced the Home to a standstill, pausing legislative work on the ground, as Republicans struggled over who ought to exchange him.
Each of the censure resolutions are “privileged,” which is a procedural instrument lawmakers can use to bypass management and committees and power votes within the Home. The stigma round privileged resolutions has eroded, main extra lawmakers to deploy the tactic.
A gaggle of Republicans from New York, as an example, compelled the separate vote on whether or not to expel indicted Santos from the Home.
If the resolutions had handed, Greene and Tlaib would have joined a small however rising group of lawmakers who’ve been censured within the final 20 years.
The Home lately has additionally sought to punish members for his or her phrases and actions by eradicating them from their respective committee assignments.