WASHINGTON – No longer on any committee and facing daily calls for resignation, New York Rep. George Santos faces uncertain future in Congress as he tries to move forward damning revelations that graced his resume, personal background, and finances.
The Republican representative walked away from his committee posts on Wednesday by calling him a temporary move until investigations are made into his background and he is “erased”.
Despite calls from his colleagues that he resign completely from Congress, Santos remains adamant that he will serve a full two-year term.
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George Santos Controversy: Here’s a look at the Republican House inquiries
Here’s how things might play out for Santos in Congress:
What happens if Santos is sent off?
Republican leaders could choose to hold a vote that would expel Santos from the House. However, there is no indication that Republicans plan to do so.
Expulsion would require a full vote in the House with two-thirdsSt favorable majority.
Gregory Wawro, a professor of political science at Columbia University, said winning an outright majority to support an expulsion was extremely unlikely.
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The vote would likely win the support of all Democrats, he said, but it would be difficult to get enough Republicans in a house where the GOP edge is just a handful of lawmakers.
Five members of the House have been expelled in U.S. history: three for supporting the Confederacy, one for corruption, and the most recent, former Representative James Traficant, D-Ohio, for filing false tax returns, among others accusations.
What happens if Santos resigns?
Santos may gladly step down from his post, but he doesn’t like people who go quietly.
“I will NOT resign!” Santos tweeted on January 11th.
Resignations are much more frequent in the Chamber than expulsions. Dozens of representatives resigned before the end of their mandates for a variety of reasons including medical issues, the decision to apply for a different post or personal reasons.
The resignation, as well as expulsion, would lead to a special election in the Santos district to fill the seat.
Who will fill the empty seat?
If Santos resigns or is ejected, the governor of New York is required to call a special election. Party committees would select candidates, and state party leadership would select the candidate for each party.
“This is a scenario that Republicans aren’t particularly keen on having to defend the seat,” said Jonathan Hanson, a professor at Michigan University’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
President Joe Biden carried the Santos district in 2020. The 3rd congressional district, which includes part of Long Island outside Manhattan, was redrawn in May to be slightly less Democratic. Biden carried the district in 2020, but Republicans flipped him to the red in the midterm of 2022.
What are the prospects for Santos?
Santos has indicated no plans beyond serving his current term, but experts believe it is unlikely Santos will run for re-election if he continues to serve out his term. If he runs in 2024, those same experts doubt he would be re-elected, experts say.
A recent Newsday/Siena College poll found that 78% of voters in her district say they should resign.
“It’s hard to imagine him surviving any further revelations,” Hanson said. “I think it’s clearly not tenable for him to try to stay in office at that point.”
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If Santos violated the campaign finance law, he could be indicted, Hanson said.
Under House rules, sitting members of the House who are indicted or convicted can still keep their seats. However, convicted members are instructed by House rules not to vote on the floor or on committees, as well as risk losing their presidency or ranking member status on committees.
What would a Santos exit mean for McCarthy?
Santos’ departure would narrow the four-seat Republican majority in the House even narrower, limiting McCarthy’s ability to drive legislation through the chamber.
“I think Republicans feel they can’t afford to lose any more seats,” Hanson said. “They already have a very tenuous situation where they can barely afford defections on one vote if they want anything to pass.”
Wawro said it was a “gamble” for Republicans whether to support Santos in the short term despite daily revelations about his fabricated background or risk losing his seat in a special election.
“I think it’s fair to say it’s a huge embarrassment to the party,” she said.
This article originally appeared in USA TODAY: George Santos: Here’s What His Future in Congress Could Look Like