A freshman congressman who authored a resolution calling for the expulsion of embattled Rep. George Santos (R-NY) earlier this week assailed House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) over the Republican leader’s opposition to the measure.
Rep. Robert Garcia (D-CA) said in a statement Tuesday that Santos “needs to be expelled by the House,” noting that the “news that federal prosecutors are filing 13 criminal charges against George Santos should have been the final straw for Kevin McCarthy, but he refuses to act.”
The House on Wednesday voted to sidestep Garcia’s call for Santos’ expulsion, backing McCarthy’s call to refer the resolution to the House Ethics Committee in a party-line 221-204 vote in a move that prompted criticism from many Democrats.
But it’s a move McCarthy may have gotten right, MSNBC’s Hayes Brown argues in a column published under the headline “McCarthy made the right call in punting the Santos expulsion vote.”
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Brown asserts that the move increases the likelihood that Santos will be expelled.
Brown writes: “The party line vote, with all Republicans in favor and all but a handful of Democrats voting against, was definitely not the ideal outcome — but as much as I hate to admit it, for once I think McCarthy’s instincts were correct. And I think that the delay will only make Santos’ removal all the more likely.”
Garcia on Tuesday acknowledged that the purpose of his resolution was to “put Republicans on the record” on whether Santos should face expulsion.
Brown writes that “it’s telling that getting their votes on the record was the stated goal rather than actually removing Santos from his seat,” noting the high bar required for expulsion, which would require a supermajority of two-thirds of the body.
Brown acknowledged that “punting” by sending the expulsion resolution will extend the timeline for an actual expulsion, noting the Ethics Committee’s reputation for being deliberative along with the possibility that it defers until after the Justice Department concludes its prosecution of Santos.
But Brown believes it increases the likelihood that Santos actually faces expulsion.
Brown writes that: “In the end, I am glad that Garcia put forward the expulsion resolution in the first place. I firmly believe that Santos deserves to be expelled from the House. But while putting Republicans on the record as defending Santos would have been great, the question is whether Democrats care more about the talking point or building the best chance for the alleged fraudster to vacate his seat.”
“As much as McCarthy’s punt feels frustrating on its face, Santos’ expulsion will be much more likely in the future than it was Wednesday evening. And for all the derision around the term as a political metaphor, sometimes when you’re in a terrible position, a punt really is the right play for a coach to call.”