This marks the first expulsion of a House lawmaker in over two decades.
The expulsion of a Congress member requires a two-thirds majority vote. The last such instance occurred more than 20 years ago when the late Rep. Jim Traficant, D-Ohio, was expelled in 2002 following his conviction on 10 felony counts, including racketeering and accepting bribes.
Unlike Traficant, Santos has not been convicted of any crime. However, he has been indicted on 23 counts, including wire fraud, identity theft, falsification of records, credit card fraud, and other charges. Allegations against Santos include misuse of campaign funds for personal luxuries and treatments such as botox. Santos has entered a plea of not guilty.
The decision to expel Santos was not unanimous within the House GOP. Following a closed-door conference meeting on Friday morning, Republicans appeared divided on the issue.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., a former chairman of the House Oversight Committee, expressed his reservations to reporters. He argued that expelling Santos at this stage would undermine the presumption of innocence to which he is entitled. Issa also drew attention to Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who is currently facing accusations of accepting bribes from and acting in the interest of Egyptian officials, yet remains in the Senate.
"He hasn't been tried either civilly or criminally, and that's what probably gives me the most pause," Issa said. "I've also become aware that the Republicans on the ethics committee wanted to consider a lesser sanction than removing him, and the three Democrats were not willing to consider anything except the expulsion."
The House Ethics Committee declined to comment on Issa's statement.
However, others, particularly the New York Republican delegation that Santos is part of, argued that there was ample evidence to warrant his expulsion.
"I believe as I've stated that George Santos has committed crimes. He's defrauded voters, taxpayers and donors. And we have established, through a comprehensive investigation, the standard by which he should be expelled," Rep. Marc Molinaro, R-N.Y., told reporters.
"I just hope that my colleagues see through any distortion and see that we have an individual who is divorced from reality, who has committed crimes, is a con man and will continue to behave in the way he has and has met the threshold not to serve the house."
Santos himself anticipated his expulsion from Congress, as he revealed during a Friday morning interview on "Fox & Friends."