Washington — Democratic Rep. Robert Garcia introduced a resolution Tuesday to expel Republican Rep. George Santos from Congress, seeking to force Republicans in the House to go on the record over whether the indicted congressman should keep his seat.
“It’s very clear that he’s a liar, he’s a fraud. And besides the 13 counts that just happen to all be serious, I think it’s more important to note that he’s already admitted to actual criminal activity, to actual fraud in Brazil,” Garcia told reporters, referring to federal charges Santos faces in New York and a criminal case he reportedly resolved in Brazil last week.
Garcia, from California, introduced his resolution as privileged, meaning it must get a vote within two days under House rules. He said a vote would make Republicans go on the record about whether they “stand for truth and accountability or if they’re going to stand with someone that’s clearly a liar.”
Asked about the resolution on Tuesday, Santos told CBS News that House Democrats “are really good at trying to play judge and jury and trying to hold people guilty before they’ve even been given a free shot at a trial,” adding that he was “confident that justice is blind and that it is not biased like Robert Garcia is.”
The resolution is unlikely to succeed, given the political dynamics at play and underlying mechanics involved in expelling a sitting representative. Under House rules, Republicans can move to table the measure or refer it to the House Ethics Committee, both of which would require a simple majority. A vote on the underlying resolution to expel Santos would require the approval of two thirds of members under the Constitution. Republicans control the 435-seat House by a margin of four seats, meaning dozens of GOP members would need to side with the Democrats to successfully expel Santos.
Santos was charged last week in federal court with fraud, money laundering and other crimes, with prosecutors alleging he pocketed thousands of dollars collected as campaign contributions. Santos, who has lied about numerous aspects of his background, pleaded not guilty and recently announced he will run for reelection next year.
Garcia’s resolution reads: “That, pursuant to Article I, Section 5, Clause 2 of the Constitution of the United States, Representative George Santos, be, and he hereby is, expelled from the House of Representatives.” He introduced a similar resolution earlier this year that went nowhere.
Several Republican lawmakers have called on Santos to resign, including GOP Rep. Mike Lawler of New York.
“If he had any dignity or decency he would resign,” Lawler told CBS News. “But you need two-thirds of the votes to expel someone so, you know, it’s the reality of numbers.”
Republican Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina said she hasn’t decided how she would vote on the resolution.
“I want to look at precedent and history and how it’s been done in the past and for what reasons. I just want to have that information before I make that decision,” she said. “I also want to make sure that any individual that’s getting expelled has due process.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has not asked Santos to step down, but said he would if Santos is found guilty or if the Ethics Committee says he broke the law. He has also said he will not support Santos’ reelection campaign.
Ellis Kim, Zachary Hudak and Rebecca Kaplan contributed reporting.