Democratic Congressman Robert Garcia, of California, introduced a resolution Tuesday afternoon on the House floor to expel Rep. George Santos.
House Republicans can schedule a vote within two legislative days, needing a two-thirds majority to pass. They can also decide to table the motion.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he would prefer to hand it over it to the House Ethics Committee, the same committee that already launched an investigation two months ago into Santos.
“I think we can look at this very quickly and come to a conclusion on what George Santos did and did not do through ethics, a safe, bipartisan committee…equal number of Republicans and Democrats,” McCarthy explained at a press conference following his meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House.
The call comes one week after Santos pleaded not guilty to a 13-count federal indictment charging him with fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements.
According to prosecutors, he lied to the House of Representatives, used campaign contributions from donors to buy designer clothes and illegally applied for unemployment benefits during the height of the pandemic.
Santos, though, has maintained his innocence, and issued the following statement: “Fortunately, justice is blind in our country, and everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Regrettably so, Congressman Garcia and the Democrats are playing the roles of bias judge and jury. Expelling me is silencing 145,000-plus voters who sent me here to represent them and taking the voice away from 700,000 people.”
The embattled Congressman also made it clear he won’t drop his bid for re-election, and defied calls from both Democrats and Republicans to step down.
“I’m gonna fight my battle. I’m gonna deliver. I’m gonna fight the witch hunt. I’m gonna take care of clearing my name and I look forward to doing that,” he said after leaving the federal courthouse last week in Central Islip.