A vote brought forward by a House Republican to expel Rep. George Santos (R-NY) from the House on Wednesday failed to reach the two-thirds majority necessary for success, leaving the embattled and indicted congressman in his seat.
The vote to expel was 179-213-19, far short of what was needed. Of Republicans, only 24 voted to expel Santos, and 31 Democrats voted to keep him in the seat. Fifteen Democrats and four Republicans also voted present.
Santos took the vote as a confirmation of his decision not to resign from Congress and said he would keep serving until his constituents removed him.
“I will continue to serve the 3rd Congressional District of New York until the people choose to not have me,” he told reporters.
Santos said angrily that his fellow Republicans who voted to expel him were acting out of "political expediency" to win points for the upcoming election.
“I don’t care. I don’t care about them; I don’t care about politics,” he said. “I care about policy. I came here for policy. I don’t care about reelections and keeping the political hacks employed.”
Only five lawmakers have ever been expelled from Congress, and three of those were for disloyalty to the Union during the Civil War.
After it was discovered that Santos fabricated and exaggerated much of his resume, he was investigated and charged with 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion.
Turns out he was allegedly charging donors' credit cards without their permission, including at least one charge that exceeded campaign finance limits for contributions.
Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY), who spearheaded the expulsion effort against Santos, credited an upcoming update from the ethics panel for some votes against expelling Santos.
“There’s no question that the memo that they put out definitely gave some of our colleagues the ability to say let’s hold off for the two weeks and see where the report leads up, which is fine,” D’Esposito told reporters following the vote.
D'Esposito said when lawmakers hear the update, he thinks they will be convinced that Santos deserves expulsion.
“I’m confident that there will be enough information in that report to make it clear to everyone that what we’ve been saying for months is factual,” he said.
Santos countered that he had not yet spoken with the panel and was fully cooperating with the probe.
“That’s part of the process; I welcome it,” he said.