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Here’s What Happens Next If New York Rep. George Santos Is Expelled From Congress


WASHINGTON — The House will vote Friday on whether to expel Rep. George Santos from Congress. If the vote succeeds, as expected, Santos, R-N.Y., will become only the sixth House member to be expelled and the first in more than 20 years.

Here’s what you need to know about eviction and what happens next:

What is the procedure for expelling a member from the House?

There is no guidance on behaviors that could lead to expulsion. The Constitution gives each house of Congress the power to set its own rules and the power to punish its members. The only requirement set forth in the Constitution is that an expulsion vote requires the support of two-thirds of the House, which is currently 290 out of 435 members.

A two-thirds vote is a higher threshold than the simple majority required for passage of most laws. At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Governor Morris argued that a majority vote would be satisfactory. But James Madison responded, saying the expulsion “was too important to be exercised by a simple majority of the quorum” and “could be dangerously abused.” Madison’s position prevailed, and the two-thirds requirement was enshrined in the Constitution.

What happens if Santos is sent off?

If the vote succeeds, Santos will be immediately removed from his position as a congressman. The Speaker of the House will then direct the Clerk to notify the Governor of New York of the expulsion. This is the practice followed by the Chamber in 1980 and 2002.

New York’s 3rd Congressional District would not have a member representing it on votes until a replacement is elected, but Santos’ staff would continue to help in processing constituent files.

How often are members kicked out?

The House has expelled only five members in history, including three in 1861 for disloyalty to the Union during the Civil War while fighting for the Confederacy: John B. Clark, John W. Reid, and Henry C. Burnett .

The first member to be expelled after the Civil War was Michael J. “Ozzie” Myers, D-Pa., who was expelled in October 1980 after being convicted of bribery and corruption in connection with the FBI sting operation Abscam.

Democrat James Traficant of Ohio was the most recent member to be expelled, by an overwhelming vote of 420-1 in 2002. He had been convicted of racketeering, bribery, obstruction of justice and ‘tax evasion.

The Senate, meanwhile, expelled 15 members: 14 for supporting the Confederacy and one for treason in 1789.

What will happen to Santos’ office and congressional staff if he is forced out?

While Santos would be forced to pack up his affairs, his congressional staff would continue to work. According to House rules, the Clerk of the House is responsible for supervising the staff and managing the office of any member who dies, resigns or is expelled until a successor is elected.

The clerk, Kevin McCumber, would have the authority to hire and fire office staff members with the approval of the House Administration Committee.

When could a successor be elected?

New York law gives the governor 10 days to schedule a special election in the event of a congressional vacancy. It must take place 70 to 80 days after the governor’s proclamation.

Could Santos run for office again if he is forced out?

Although Santos has said he will not seek re-election in 2024, he could run in the future even if he is forced out. After Myers was expelled in October 1980, he remained in the race for his old seat but lost in November.

Traficant continued to run for his seat from prison as an independent in 2002, losing to his former assistant Tim Ryan. He attempted a comeback in 2010 but lost again to Ryan.



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