On Friday, December 1, 2023, the House made a significant decision to expel indicted Republican legislator George Santos from Congress.
This marked him as the sixth member ever to face expulsion from the House and the first in over two decades.
Fellow lawmakers, meeting on that decisive Friday, voted to expel him, citing criminal corruption charges and allegations of misusing campaign funds as the reasons.
The House had a decisive 311-114 vote, surpassing the required two-thirds majority for such an action. House Speaker Mike Johnson unexpectedly revealed his opposition to the expulsion just before the vote, according to Reuters.
As the decision approached, Santos, perhaps expecting the outcome, left the chamber and the Capitol. Reporters surrounded him, seeking statements, as he quickly entered a waiting vehicle.
The expulsion, effective immediately, further reduces the already slim Republican majority in the House. George Santos, representing New York, had previously withstood two attempts to expel him earlier in the year — one in May and another just a month ago.
Leading up to Friday’s decision, key figures within the House GOP leadership, including Johnson, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, and others, expressed reluctance to remove Santos from office. Johnson, expressing reservations about the precedent of expulsion without a criminal conviction, urged members to vote according to their conscience.
This significant development comes just two weeks after a damning report from the House Ethics Committee, revealing alleged misuse of campaign funds for personal gain by Santos. Despite Santos dismissing the report as a political smear, he has yet to counter the specific allegations.
Momentum for Santos’s removal gained traction after the report’s publication, with House Republican leaders initially appearing ready to salvage his position.
However, just before the crucial vote, figures like Johnson, Scalise, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, and the third-ranking House Republican, Elise Stefanik, announced their intent to vote against the resolution.
Stefanik, in a post to X, emphasized her concerns about setting a dangerous precedent by expelling a member of Congress without a criminal conviction. She reiterated her belief that the judicial system should be the arbiter of such matters, a sentiment shared since the inception of the contentious process.