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Democrats prepare a vote to censure Rep. George Santos

The censure resolution from Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., comes as the House Ethics Committee has yet to conclude its investigation of the embattled Republican.
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WASHINGTON — Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres plans to introduce a resolution Monday to censure embattled Republican New York Rep. George Santos for his misleading comments about his education, work history and family background during his successful campaign for Congress in 2022, a spokesperson said.

The resolution from Torres, also of New York, will be privileged, meaning the Republican-controlled House must act on it. Once Torres calls for a vote on the measure, it must be voted on or "tabled" (effectively killing it) within 48 hours.

The resolution comes after Santos' indictment by federal prosecutors and as the House Ethics Committee's investigation into him drags on. Democrats are anxious to deliver some sort of penalty to Santos before the August recess.

Torres spokesperson Jacob Long said the hope is that the resolution could be brought for a vote before members leave Washington at the end of July — unless the House Ethics Committee concludes its investigation into Santos and reveals its recommendation before then.

The New York Times first reported on Torres’ plans to introduce the resolution.

Democrats had introduced another privileged resolution in May to expel Santos from the chamber, but Republicans successfully referred the matter to the ethics committee. New York Republicans who have criticized Santos and called for his resignation supported the referral with the understanding that the panel would act within 60 days, by Monday.

Rep. Nick LaLota, R-N.Y., who represents the neighboring district to Santos, said at the time that he would have "preferred there to be enough votes to expel the sociopath scam artist," but that he believed the ethics committee to act "within 60 days and for the terrible liar to be gone, by resignation or expulsion, before August recess."

The ethics committee declined to comment.

Santos has pleaded not guilty to the 13 federal counts against him, including wire fraud and money laundering. A trial date has not been set. His next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 7.

Censure votes are rare in Congress but do not carry a serious penalty other than the stain of the censure on a member’s record. House Republicans recently censured Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., for his role in the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Democrats were very critical of the vote at the time and Schiff has raised millions since then.

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves the U.S. Capitol after the last votes of the week on May 25, 2023.
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves the U.S. Capitol after the last votes of the week on May 25.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images file

While an expulsion vote requires two-thirds of the House in order to be successful, a censure vote only requires a simple majority.

In a statement to NBC News, Santos hammered the Democrats' attempts to introduce the censure resolution.

“Democrats on the other side of the aisle have completely lost focus on the work they should be doing," he said. "My record proves that my office is hard at work, serving constituents and crafting keen legislation. The Republican majority is also working hard to get the country back on track and clean up the mess left behind by destructive one-party Democrat rule. It is time to stop the political ping-pong and get real work done."

CORRECTION (July 17, 2023, 3:59 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the year of Santos’ successful congressional campaign. It was 2022, not 2020.