WASHINGTON, D.C. December 1, 2023 – In a historic move, the United States House of Representatives voted 311-114 to expel the indicted New York Republican, surpassing the required two-thirds majority for removing a member. The expulsion marks the first instance since the Civil War where a member was ousted without a prior conviction.
The measure garnered overwhelming support from almost all Democrats, with only two opposing and two abstaining. Notably, 105 Republicans broke ranks to back the expulsion. The indicted New York Republican, whose identity remains protected, expressed his dismay at the decision, stating, “It’s over. … They just set a dangerous new precedent for themselves,” before declining further comment.
Upon the conclusion of the vote, the ousted member told reporters, “As I am unofficially no longer a member of Congress, I no longer have to answer a single question. That is the one thing that I’m going to take forever.”
The resolution leading to the expulsion was initiated by House Ethics Committee Chair Michael Guest (R-Miss.), following the release of a damning report two weeks ago that uncovered “significant evidence” of criminal wrongdoing by the now-former congressman.
Despite last-minute opposition from the top four GOP House leaders, the motion passed comfortably. Speaker Mike Johnson, in remarks to reporters after the vote, chose not to address the ousted member but instead criticized the Senate for its delay in passing aid for Israel. “It’s been over a month since the House passed a bipartisan support package for Israel. It has been sitting on the Senate’s desk over there for over a month. It’s time for them to take action on that matter,” Johnson asserted.
Only five members have been expelled from the House in history, three of whom were removed due to their support for the Confederacy and the remaining two after federal convictions.
In the lead-up to the vote, the indicted New York Republican’s standing among colleagues deteriorated, prompting speculation that he was deliberately avoiding resignation to portray himself as a martyr. Representative Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.), one of the leading critics of the ousted member, remarked, “He should have resigned. It shouldn’t have come to this. But it is. And now we’re going to actually allow the third district to elect a representative. Someone that they can trust. Someone that they know.”
Expulsion stands as the most severe sanction the House can impose on its members. The removal of the indicted New York Republican further diminishes the Republicans’ already slim majority in the House.
Facing 23 federal charges, the former congressman, known as Santos, has not been convicted. His trial is scheduled to commence in September, and he has maintained his plea of not guilty.