House of Representatives fails to vote out George Santos

Republican politician George Santos gestures with his hands near his face while speaking at a podium

The US House of Representatives has failed to secure enough votes to expel Republican lawmaker George Santos.

Santos’ fellow New York Republican lawmakers had led the charge to have him expelled from the House, arguing that he was “not fit to serve”, after Santos was indicted on federal fraud charges.

The House needed a supermajority or, at the very least, two-thirds of the lawmakers to vote in favour of ousting Santos.

George Santos surrounded by reporters
The House has failed to vote to expel George Santos. (Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Only five people have ever been expelled from the House in the history of America, three of whom were expelled for fighting against the US government in the Civil War.

In the end, Santos was completely safe from expulsion, with just 179 votes in favour and 213 against. Of the 179 votes in favour, 155 were Democrats and just 24 were Republicans. Meanwhile, of those who voted against, 31 were Democrats and 182 were Republicans, NBC News reports.

The results of this vote mean that the Republican Party preserves its already narrow 221-212 House majority.

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The move by New York Republicans to oust Santos was overshadowed and delayed by the removal of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, which left the House leaderless for weeks.

Eventually, when McCarthy’s successor Mike Johnson was elected, he said that he did not support expelling Santos.

George Santos sits alone in the House of Representatives while wearing a suit and tie
George Santos has not been expelled from the House of Representatives. (Getty)

Efforts to expells Santos from the House were sparked by criminal charges made against the 35-year-old lawmaker involving illegally receiving unemployment benefits and charging donors’ credit cards without their consent.

In May, Santos pleaded not guilty to 13 federal crime charges, including seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one of theft of public funds and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives.

Last week, he once again pleaded not guilty to an additional ten felony counts that federal prosecutors added in October.

However, a former treasurer for Santos’ campaign pleaded guilty early last month to a conspiracy charge.

Santos’ trial is scheduled for 9 September 2024, just before national elections determine which party will take control of the White House, as well as both chambers of Congress.

Ahead of Wednesday’s (1 November) House vote, Santos said: “I must warn my colleagues that voting for expulsion at this point would circumvent the judicial system’s right to due process that I’m entitled to and desanctify the long-held premise that one is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

Separately, the House Ethics Committee is investigating allegations against Santos, and is expected to announce its findings and next steps by 17 November.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Rep Anthony D’Esposito said: “In two weeks, we will read the ethics report, and, you know, you don’t need to be a retired New York City detective to understand that the report is probably not going to be good, and we’ll go from there.”