(Bloomberg) -- New York Republican George Santos faces the most serious threat yet to his short and tumultuous tenure in Congress, as two competing resolutions to oust him from the House of Representations got put on a fast track Tuesday.
The House has failed twice to muster the two-thirds majority needed to expel the 35-year-old for a well-documented series of campaign lies and election finance irregularities.
But the latest attempts follow a scathing Ethics Committee report finding that he had stolen from campaign donors and used the money for Botox treatments, luxury goods and a website commonly associated with pornography.
Santos predicted Tuesday that the expulsion resolution would pass but that he wouldn’t resign.
“If I resign, I make it easy for this place. This place is run on hypocrisy,” he told reporters. “I’m done playing a part for the circus. If they want me to leave Congress, they’re going to have to take that tough vote.”
The only question for House Speaker Mike Johnson is which of two resolutions — one Democratic and one Republican — would get priority, and when. Representative Robert Garcia, a California Democrat, was first to invoke a House rule on Tuesday that requires a vote on expulsion within two legislative days. Five hours later, Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Guest, a Mississippi Republican, did the same. Either resolution would require a two-thirds vote, and both would have the same effect.
“We want to make sure that happens this week. I think whatever it takes to get that vote this week is what we’re doing,” Garcia said. “He has no place in Congress.”
Read more: QuickTake: How and Why Congress Expels a Member, Like Santos
The Ethics Committee’s findings may have shifted thinking on Santos among some Republicans previously hesitant to act before a criminal trial verdict. Johnson had been reluctant to remove Santos, given his party’s narrow edge in the chamber. With newly elected Utah Republican Celeste Maloy sworn in Tuesday evening, Republicans control the chamber by a slender 222-213 majority.
The speaker has spoken to Santos at least once in recent days about the congressman’s “options,” signaling a search for an endgame to the drama nearly a year after reports of Santos’s fabricated resume first surfaced.
Santos, who also faces criminal charges ranging from unemployment insurance fraud and money-laundering to making unauthorized charges on campaign donors’ credit cards, has maintained his innocence.
Expulsions are extremely rare — only five members have ever been removed from the House, with the most recent being Ohio Democrat James Traficant in 2002.
If the House removes Santos, New York would have a special election to fill the seat within 90 days — with the exact date to be determined by Governor Kathy Hochul. Santos’s district covers northern Nassau County on Long Island and part of the New York City borough of Queens.
--With assistance from Erik Wasson and Maeve Sheehey.
(Updates with Republican resolution, Santos comments beginning in first paragraph)
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