House Democrats plan to force Santos censure vote

Washington – House Democrats plan to force a no-confidence vote on Republican Rep. George Santos of New York for repeatedly lying about his background, two months after a previous Democratic-led effort to to expel him from Congress failed.

Rep. Ritchie Torres, a Democrat from New York, plans to run the resolution as “preferred,” a designation under House rules that require a floor vote within two legislative days.

“I have a message for House Republicans who for far too long have been protecting Mr. Santos, who has disgraced the US Congress,” Torres said in a tweet. “Stop treating Mr. Santos as untouchable. Now is the time for Congress to hold him accountable.”

Censure is essentially a formal public reprimand from the House to punish misconduct that does not warrant expulsion. The censured member must usually stand on the floor of the House while the resolution detailing their offenses is read aloud.

A three-page draft of the resolution obtained by CBS News lists a number of lies Santos told about his upbringing, career and family. Among the lies listed in the resolution are that his grandparents survived the Holocaust, that his mother died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and that he helped produce the Broadway musical “Spider-Man : Turn Off the Dark”.

Democrats tried to evict Santos in May after he was indicted in a 13-count federal indictment charging him with fraud, money laundering and other crimes. Republicans blocked the effort by voting to refer the matter to the House Ethics Committee, which opened a formal investigation in Santos in March, offering vulnerable GOP members a hedge against having to publicly declare their position on whether the indicted congressman should retain his seat.

Santos has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges and announced he will seek re-election next year.

Unlike expulsion, which requires two-thirds support, a vote of no confidence requires a simple majority.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he wants the ethics committee to act quickly to determine whether Santos should be disciplined, but Democrats grew impatient, especially after Republicans voted to censure Rep. Adam Schiff last month.

Republicans have sought to punish Schiff, a California Democrat, for his role in congressional investigations into former President Donald Trump. He was the 25th House legislator in U.S. history to be censured.

On Monday, McCarthy criticized Democrats for not allowing the ethics committee process to take place.

“They’ve raised this issue many times. It’s their whole agenda,” he told reporters. “We don’t get involved with the ethics committee. They are individuals who will do their job and do their job and follow through with whatever they have to find.”

Nikole Killion contributed reporting.

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