Rep. George Santos (R-NY) looks on as the House of Representatives holds a vote on a new Speaker of the House at the US Capitol on October 18, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
The House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted down a bid to expel embattled Republican Rep. George Santos of New York over his campaign lies and criminal charges.
The resolution to expel Santos from Congress, which was put forward by a group of his fellow New York Republicans, failed in a 179-213 vote, with 19 members voting present.
Thirty-one Democrats joined 182 Republicans in opposing the resolution, while 24 GOP members sided with 155 Democrats to support it.
It required the support of two-thirds of the chamber to pass.
Santos, 35, has faced bipartisan calls for his resignation since before he was sworn into Congress in January. He has admitted to lying about his employment and education history during his campaign, and his brief time in Congress has been marked by a series of scandals — including his criminal indictment.
Last week, he appeared in court for a second time to plead not guilty to a raft of federal fraud and theft charges. He has vowed not to resign from office voluntarily.
While few of his House GOP colleagues have come to his defense, some signaled they did not want to kick out one of their members of a conference already clinging to a razor-thin and deeply fractured majority.
“We have no margin for error,” newly anointed House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said in a Fox News interview last week. “And so, George Santos is due due process, right?”
Other Republicans pointed to Tuesday’s statement by the House Ethics Committee, revealing that its investigation into Santos was nearing its end and scheduling an announcement on its “next course of action in this matter” by Nov. 17.
The group that brought the expulsion resolution, led by Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, R-N.Y., had advocated for ousting Santos as a moral necessity.
“Plain and simple — this is a question of right and wrong,” those lawmakers wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter reported earlier Wednesday by NBC News and other outlets.
Some polls have shown that even before his indictment, the vast majority of voters in Santos’ Long Island congressional district — including Republican voters — wanted him out of office.
Santos remains a candidate for reelection in 2024. He has rebuffed calls for his resignation on multiple occasions, including on the eve of his latest arraignment in federal court on a new batch of criminal fraud charges.
Santos faces 23 felony counts of crimes including wire fraud, credit card fraud, aggravated identity theft and falsifying records.
His criminal trial is scheduled for mid-September 2024, less than two months before Election Day.