US House Democrat to force vote to expel embattled Republican George Santos

U.S. Representative George Santos (R-NY) at Central Islip Federal Courthouse

By Moira Warburton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic U.S. Representative Robert Garcia on Tuesday started the process of forcing a vote on a motion to expel Republican George Santos, the congressman from New York facing federal charges of fraud, money laundering and theft of public funds.

Two-thirds of the House of Representatives would have to vote in favor for Santos to be expelled, a bar unlikely to be reached in a chamber that Republicans control by a narrow 222-213 margin. But the vote will put many Republicans in the difficult position of defending a colleague with a history of lying about his work experience and biography.

Garcia, who represents a House district in California, used a parliamentary maneuver to force a vote within two days on the motion.

"George Santos is a fraud and a liar, and he needs to be expelled by the House," Garcia said in a statement. "Republicans now have a chance to demonstrate to Americans that an admitted criminal should not serve in the House of Representatives."

Santos's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Santos last week pleaded not guilty to the charges, calling the allegations against him a politically motivated "witch hunt."

He has made extensive false claims about his past, including saying he earned degrees from New York University and Baruch College despite neither institution having any record of his attending. He claimed to have worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, also untrue.

He said falsely that he was Jewish and that his grandparents escaped the Nazis during World War Two. He has admitted to fabricating large parts of his resume.

Santos, a first-term congressman, has said he intends to seek re-election in 2024. Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said he would not support Santos's re-election bid.

Nine House Republicans have called on Santos to resign, including six from New York.

(Reporting by Moira Warburton; Editing by Will Dunham and Scott Malone)