The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Democrats’ Gambit to Expel Santos – Or Embarrass the GOP

FOX was told this week that House Republican leaders have not made a decision on how to handle the effort to expel Rep. George Santos (R.N.Y.).

Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) is essentially calling the GOP’s bluff, either by voting to oust Santos or making it look like the GOP is protecting the New York Republican Party.

Mr. Garcia reintroduced a brief and privileged resolution to expel Santos. “Pursuant to Article I, Section 5, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, Congressman George Santos is expelled from the House of Representatives and is hereby expelled,” the resolution simply reads.

The Garcia resolution is “privileged.” That means the House must consider it by Thursday at the latest. A similar resolution to expel Santos, authored by Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Guest (R-Mississippi), is not privileged. Mr. Guest’s resolution is more detailed, citing the House Ethics Committee’s report on Santos. By not drafting his resolution in a “privileged” manner, the House is not forced to introduce the guest’s bill immediately. Additionally, House Republican leadership is not planning any action on Guest’s plan. A senior House Republican leader suggested to Fox that the House could confuse Friday’s guest resolution. But Garcia’s strategy could defeat that. And it could put Republican lawmakers in a tight spot.

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Many Republicans were reluctant to expel Mr. Santos until the Ethics Commission’s report was released. The Ethics Commission issued a scathing report before Thanksgiving. As a result, more and more members of Congress are willing to expel Santos. But Mr. Santos has not been convicted in court. The House of Representatives has only expelled five members, three of whom were accused of siding with the Confederacy. The other two, former Rep. Ozzie Myers (D-Pennsylvania) and the late Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio), were convicted.

Rep. George Santos (RN.Y.) poses for a photo outside the U.S. Capitol on Friday, September 29, 2023, after the House failed to pass the Spending Cuts and Border Security Act. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc, via Getty Images)

According to Fox, some Republican leaders and rank-and-file Republicans remain upset about Santos’ ouster. They cite the fact that Santos has not yet been convicted. Many Republicans are concerned that expelling Santos without a court conviction would set a precedent.

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FOX is also told that there are growing concerns that the Republican majority will shrink if the House expels Santos. It also comes as the Republican Party tonight adds a new member to its membership, Rep.-elect Celeste Malloy (R-Utah).

Democrats would love nothing more than to watch Republicans sweat over how to handle a second vote to oust Santos. The House of Representatives has already rejected two resolutions this year to expel Santos.

george santos inflatable doll

An inflatable balloon depicting U.S. Rep. George Santos, a Republican from New York, stands near the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, in Washington, D.C. MoveOn Political Action debuted a 15-foot inflatable balloon to make demands on the House of Representatives. Mr. Santos will be expelled following the release of the House Ethics Committee report. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

There is also a possibility that Republicans may pass or reject the resolution to expel Santos. Therefore, the actual roll call vote is just one step away from expulsion. Democrats will point to the vote as an attempt by Republicans to use the vote motion as a fig leaf to protect Santos. Democrats plan to document that roll call vote and use it against Republicans in the 2024 campaign.

But if the House votes to expel Santos, the deed would be complete. And Democrats can cry that it took them to oust Santos. They will argue that House Republican leadership lacked the moral compass to call for a vote to expel Santos.

The worst-case scenario for Republicans, which is a real possibility, is that the House takes a direct vote for or against Santos’ ouster, and it fails.

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Democrats certainly don’t think Santos should be a member of Congress. But Democrats will highlight the failure of the expulsion vote as a Republican effort to protect Santos.

United States – November 7: Congressman George Santos (RN.Y.) arrives to attend a meeting of the House Republican Conference at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, November 7, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc, via Getty Images)

Why did the expulsion vote fail? The bar for expulsion is high. Expulsion requires a two-thirds vote. That’s a matter of calculation. If all 435 members of Congress (once Mr. Malloy is sworn in) vote, he will have 290 votes.

Failed expulsion votes are even rarer than actual expulsions. In the history of the House, expulsion has only failed three times.

The House failed to oust Representative Preston Brooks (D.C.) after he nearly whipped Sen. Charles Sumner (R-Mass.) to death in the old Senate chamber of the Capitol in 1856.


The House also failed to expel Rep. La Belle Rosseau (D-Kentucky), who assaulted Rep. Josiah Grinnell (R-Iowa) in 1866.

Then, in 1990, the House unsuccessfully tried to expel former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) from the House for having an affair with a gay male prostitute.