Mar 8, 2024 - Politics & Policy

George Santos faces effort to bar him from House floor

Former Rep. George Santos, wearing a black sweater over a white and gem-encrusted collared shirt, stands at the back of the House chamber.

Former Rep. George Santos standing at the back of the House chamber ahead of the State of the Union on March 7, 2024. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

A House Democrat is introducing a proposed rule change to bar expelled former lawmakers from going onto the House floor uninvited.

Why it matters: It's a response to expelled former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) attending the State of the Union uninvited on Thursday — shortly before announcing his long-shot bid to return to Congress.

  • Santos is one of six House members who have been expelled in U.S. history, and one of just two who are currently alive.

What they're saying: The GEORGE rule, which stands for Getting Expelled Officially Revokes Guaranteed Entry, would revoke the lifetime floor privileges afforded to former House members if they were expelled.

  • Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), who introduced the proposal, told Axios: "George Santos disgraced Congress with his presence during the State of the Union."
  • "Expelled members like him have no business being on the House floor," he added.
  • The proposed rule change was first reported by Punchbowl News.

The other side: Asked about the proposal, Santos responded in a text to Axios simply, "lol."

The backdrop: The House voted 311-114 in December to expel Santos after an Ethics Committee report accused him of a "complex web of unlawful activity."

Reality check: The rule change is unlikely to get a vote in the GOP-controlled House.

  • House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) opposed expelling Santos in the first place and allowed him on the floor during the speech on Thursday.
  • Even Republicans who revile Santos expressed hesitance to take make a move. "I think former members who have been expelled should know well enough not to return," Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.) told reporters.

Zoom in: Santos' plans to challenge Rep. Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.) have been met with guffaws from his former New York Republican colleagues.

  • "It's tough to run a primary against a World Series winner," Rep. Anthony D'Esposito (R-N.Y.) quipped to LaLota on Friday morning – a reference to Santos' history of fabricating details of his resume.
  • LaLota, upon being informed of Santos' planned challenge, reacted by laughing, according to a source who was on the floor at the time.
Go deeper