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Local US Rep George Santos Ousted from the House of Representatives

By Manal Rashid

On December 1, representatives of the House expelled New York Republican Representative George Santos in a 311-114 vote, making him the sixth House member to be removed from Congress. As the representative of New York’s third district is set to leave Congress, many believe the Republican majority in the House is also at risk. 

Source by Lindsay Kim

Constituents of New York's 3rd congressional district anticipate voting in a special election February 13, 2024.

On November 16, Santos announced that he would not seek a second term after the House ethics report proved that he was involved in criminal activity, including the misuse of campaign funds. The committee also found that Santos has repeatedly lied to voters by fabricating details of his personal life. These falsehoods included claims from Santos that he was a volleyball star at Baruch College, had worked for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, and was Jewish. By October, Santos faced a total of 23 federal felony charges, to which he pleaded not guilty, and the trials are expected to take place in 2024 on Long Island. Moreover, the House of Ethics Committee found evidence of Santos' violations beyond offenses outlined in the Justice Department's indictments. Investigators say the funds contributed to Santos' election campaign were redirected towards personal expenses, including expensive retail purchases and plastic surgery treatments.

"Santos' whole act seemed like something out of a comedy movie,” senior Guneet Hanjra said. “It was entertaining until I ultimately remembered that he had a hand in running our nation and was our representative in particular. Despite his political affiliations, I think this just goes to show how much smarter we have to be with who we elect into office, there are many questionable representatives at the moment, and Santos was just one of the many to become a big enough scandal, an entertaining one at that."

In light of the allegations and felonies that Santos now faces, all House Democrats and 100 Republicans voted to expel Santos from Congress. After the decision, Santos immediately made remarks to reporters and assured his supporters that this would not be the last time they heard from him. "I'm 35," Santos said. "This doesn't mean it is goodbye forever." A special election is set to occur on February 13, 2024 to decide who should take Santos' vacant seat in the House. 

"I think it was the right decision,” senior Alvin Paul said. “Although the Republicans would've liked having that extra vote in shoring up their majority, I feel that allowing him to stay when there was so much evidence proving that he had defrauded so many people would've made for a dangerous precedent that would've been antithetical to the point of the House. I think this may have caused some division amongst Republicans, just because he hasn't been charged yet, but taking into account that the chair of the House Ethics Committee was a Republican and he was in support of the expulsion, it most likely would've just been a matter of time, as opposed to principle." 

Furthermore, former House speaker Kevin McCarthy announced that he would be leaving Congress at the end of the year. As a prominent member of the Republican Party, McCarthy’s departure may be problematic for the GOP. Mike Johnson, McCarthy’s House speaker successor, has strict social conservative stances in contrast to McCarthy’s more moderate policies. This may be less appealing to key districts that could grant Republicans a majority in the House.

With the George Santos scandal and the retirement of Kevin McCarthy, many believe the Republican party will not be able to engage as many voters as before, jeopardizing their majority in Congress. 

“I think the Nassau County Republican party, as well as the other Republican representatives from Long Island, LaLota(R) and Garbarino(R), have taken a strong consistent stance against George Santos since the NYTimes broke the original story about Santos’ lies on his resume,” social studies teacher Dr. D’Orsogna said. “This was not only the right thing to do, but the politically smart thing to do. I think the response of these Long Island Republicans has gone a long way in damage control for the local party and I don’t think it will have a hugely damaging impact on the party’s reputation. The bigger battle for both Democrats and Republicans is getting voter turnout for the February 13 special election, which is why I would encourage any NHP students interested in politics to go out and volunteer with whichever party they prefer to help Get Out the Vote.”


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