Washington, D.C. – December 1, 2023
In a decisive move, the House voted on Friday to expel Republican Representative George Santos from Congress, intensifying the scrutiny on the GOP’s diminished majority. The expulsion, which required the support of two-thirds of the chamber, passed with a resounding 311-114 vote, marking Santos as the sixth House member in U.S. history to be ousted and the third since the Civil War.
The expulsion of Santos further erodes the already slender Republican majority, reducing House Republicans to 221 members against 213 Democrats. This development complicates the GOP’s ability to pass legislation without Democratic support and provides Democrats with a strategic opportunity to secure Santos’ seat.
According to New York law, Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul has 10 days to announce a special election to fill the vacant seat, with the vote expected to take place in late February. Democrats view this as a prime opportunity to bolster their representation in the House.
Former Democratic Representative Tom Suozzi, who vacated the seat in New York’s 3rd congressional district to pursue a gubernatorial run, has swiftly launched a campaign to regain the position.
Despite reservations from House Republican leaders, including Speaker Mike Johnson and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Santos’ fellow New York Republicans pushed for the expulsion resolution. Previous efforts to remove the embattled 35-year-old freshman lawmaker had failed, but the release of a damning House Ethics report in mid-November altered the political landscape.
The report accused Santos of “blatantly stealing from his campaign,” diverting funds to luxury shopping at places like Ferragamo and Hermes, undergoing cosmetic procedures such as Botox, and engaging in transactions on the adult website OnlyFans.com.
Santos’ brief tenure in office has been marred by scandals, beginning with his admission of lying about his professional and educational background shortly after winning the seat in 2022. The congressman faces nearly two dozen criminal charges, including identity theft, submitting false campaign finance reports, and misappropriating unemployment funds. Santos has pleaded not guilty to these charges.
As the political fallout continues, Santos’ expulsion underscores the challenges faced by the GOP, while Democrats eye the upcoming special election as a chance to strengthen their position in the House. The scandals surrounding Santos serve as a stark reminder of the ongoing efforts to maintain integrity within the U.S. political landscape.