The Capitol is buzzing once again, but it has nothing to do with a bipartisan infrastructure bill or yet more ways to waste the money the government takes from American citizens. Instead, the buzz is around the very real possibility that House Republicans might be showing Rep. George Santos (R-NY) the door.
Santos has been the subject of controversy over a slew of allegations (criminal and otherwise) and alleged lies that he engaged in before he became a member of Congress. Later this week, the lower chamber is expected to vote on whether to expel Santos or allow him to remain in office.
CNN’s chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju noted in a recent broadcast that “There’s only been five members in United States history who have been expelled from the House,” adding that it would take “a two-thirds majority in the House” to give Santos the boot.
New York Rs believe they are close to 2/3 needed to make George Santos just the 6th House member ever expelled.— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 30, 2023
"I understand the hesitance, but this is a clear case of an individual who used every lie and misdeed in order to attain the very office that he holds," Molinaro said pic.twitter.com/IJTbg29i6r
So, what is happening here is the congressional equivalent of getting voted off the island. But what exactly did Santos do to become the star of Survivor: D.C. Edition?
Last week, Republican Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY) introduced the resolution that would remove Santos from Congress. He listed off a laundry list of offenses that was longer than the average omnibus bill. The allegations range from lying about significant details of his background – including his education and prior employment – to being federally indicted on a whopping 23 criminal counts, including money laundering, wire fraud, and lying on federal financial disclosure forms. Indeed, he is even being accused of pilfering $44,000 from donors by charging their credit cards without authorization. If the allegations are true, then it appears Santos has been a busy bee.
BREAKING:— Republicans against Trump (@RpsAgainstTrump) October 26, 2023
Republican Congressman Anthony D'Esposito introduced a resolution to expel George Santos from Congress.
Rep. Nick LaLota (R-NY), while speaking with reporters on Capitol Hill, said he thinks “people have seen over the last ten months what a fraud [Santos] is.” Rep. Marcus Molinaro (R-NY) also chimed in, saying, “This is a clear case of an individual who used every lie and misdeed in order to attain the very office he holds.” Why don’t these guys tell us how they really feel?
So, what happens if the House votes to toss Santos out of Congress on his ear? In reality, it won’t mean much of a thing. Santos’ alleged misdeeds are par for the course for swamp dwellers. Let’s not pretend this is an isolated case. The only real difference is that the lawmaker wasn’t smart enough to avoid getting caught.
It is also worth addressing how Santos’ possible ouster could affect the makeup of Congress. Currently, Republicans hold 221 seats in the lower chamber while Democrats hold 212. If Santos is ejected, then New York will have to hold a special election to fill his seat.
Given the circumstances surrounding Santos’ downfall, it is entirely possible that the district might elect a Democrat, which would diminish Republican control over the House. The recent Speaker fiasco demonstrates how only a few votes can make a difference as it did when House Republicans had to choose another nominee to take up the gavel.
While removing Santos is a welcome development, given his prior actions, it is like trying to bail water from an overflowing rowboat with an eyedropper. There will still be plenty of good ol’ fashioned corruption in D.C.