Dem 51
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GOP 49
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House Punts on "Santos"

Well, that went nowhere fast. As we noted yesterday, Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA) introduced a resolution that would kick Rep. "George Santos" (R-NY) out of the House of Representatives. Since it is a privileged motion, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) could not substantially delay the resolution, or toss it in the garbage. Rather than kick "Santos" out, however, McCarthy & Co. punted, referring the resolution to the House Ethics Committee. The vote was 221-204-7; the seven included all five of the Democrats on the Ethics Committee plus Reps. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA). Other than those, it was a party-line vote.

This means that the status quo holds, at least for now. The resolution has been dispensed with, and so McCarthy has no further obligation to bring it to the floor of the House. Meanwhile, the Ethics Committee was already investigating "Santos," so referring the resolution to them changes... nothing. That said, while Wednesday's vote did allow the 221 Republican members to vote on the privileged motion without taking a position on "Santos," it did also commit them to the basic notion that this is a matter for the Ethics Committee to decide. That means that if, once it's done its work, the Committee returns a finding that "Santos" has to go, there's going to be nowhere for the 221 members to hide. And all it takes is for one Republican member of the Committee to vote against "Santos," assuming all five Democrats vote against him. Actually, technically, it wouldn't take a Republican vote against, it would only take a Republican abstention. By the (unusual) rules of the Committee, it's got five members from each party.

In the end, "Santos" is an embarrassment to Congress and to the House Republican Conference. So, there are surely going to be 290 members who want to see him gone. Heck, it's not impossible the vote will be 434-1 (although it should be noted that the one is the only current member of Congress to have stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day). But that vote is going to have to wait until the House Ethics Committee takes care of business. (Z)

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