Republicans Thursday edged closer to expelling controversial Rep. George Santos from the House of Representatives, but it remained unclear if they have the needed support to boot him once and for all.
Some New York GOP lawmakers say they hope to introduce a measure to expel Santos as early as next week now that Republicans have elected a new House speaker and normal legislative business has resumed.
But it remains unclear whether the bill can garner the needed two-thirds vote of the entire House, which would require nearly half of Republicans to join all Democrats.
Rep. Nick LaLota, R-N.Y., a fellow first-term Long Island lawmaker, said GOP lawmakers want to oust Santos without delay.
“New Yorkers deserve better than scam artist George Santos,” LaLota said. “Now that we have a speaker, I expect the expulsion resolution we drafted several weeks ago to be acted on shortly.
“He’s gotta go,” LaLota added.
Santos, who has admitted lying about much of his life story, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The first-term congressman faces a raft of federal fraud and campaign financing charges. He was indicted in May but insists he is innocent. He also maintains his innocence in another federal corruption probe launched early this month.
He vows to seek reelection next year in his Democratic-leaning Long Island district that he flipped in a huge upset in the midterms.
That would be a nightmare scenario for local Republicans who fear they could be dragged down by voters angered over Santos’ campaign of lies.
It’s unknown whether newly minted Republican Speaker Mike Johnson will support or oppose the Santos expulsion measure.
Ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy protected Santos for months as Republicans needed every vote they could get in the almost evenly divided House, especially with their caucus bitterly divided.
McCarthy and other GOP leaders like New York Rep. Elise Stefanik bought time by referring Santos’ case to the House Ethics Committee, which has been investigating without any sign of progress.
LaLota and his fellow critics of Santos agreed with that plan, drawing criticism from Democrats.
After Santos was hit with a superseding indictment this month, his fellow Republicans changed course and decided to push for immediate expulsion.
If Santos — who won’t receive the backing of the Nassau County Republican Party — is expelled or quits, it would force a special election to fill his seat. Democrats would be favored to flip it back, cutting the House GOP majority from nine to seven.