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Dems Mull Censuring GOP Reps Santos and Greene, But Here's What's Holding Them Back

AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough

The House is in recess, but congressional Democrats were mulling censure votes on Reps. George Santos (R-NY) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). House Democrats appear to be lusting for revenge after Republicans censured Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for fanning the flames of the wild goose chase we know as the Russian collusion hoax, including the first impeachment effort against former President Donald Trump over fake evidence of quid pro quo over Ukraine aid. That was Joe Biden, but that’s another story. 


Santos is a controversial figure on the Hill, with sketchy aspects of his life and resume. That unraveling of his past life began when he was sworn in this session, though that has morphed into federal indictments. Democrats genuinely want to oust Santos and censure Greene, but they’re worried about retaliation. Politico described that some members are worried this “tit-for-tat” could come off the hinges, imperiling serious appropriation business. The House needs to pass a slew of spending bills to keep the government open, and that deadline is September 30. 

With how things are between Democrats and Republicans on the Hill, I can see a censure war breaking out. Should the Left move forward with this censure nonsense, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) could be the next progressive Democrat to be slapped with a censure motion over her outrageous remarks about Israel being a racist state. Again, it’s the retaliatory fallout Democrats fear most right now (via Politico): 

House Democrats are facing a tough choice: Is forcing the GOP into perilous votes worth plunging the chamber into a tit-for-tat of symbolic reprimands? 

Democrats sense an opportunity to impose political pain on Republicans by teeing up censure votes against Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and George Santos (R-N.Y.). Pushing the formal reprimand is one of the few tools the minority party can use to force the GOP into tough votes. 

But when it comes to Greene and Santos, there’s a major risk for Democrats: The GOP could turn it back around — following its recent censure of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and rebuke of Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) with a cascade of potentially problematic reprimands for minority party lawmakers.  

“I think it’s becoming more of a political game than it is a pursuit of ethics. And that troubles me, and everybody should be troubled by that,” said Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.). 


The Santos censure presents a particular challenge for Democrats, despite the party’s universal condemnation of the indicted New Yorker. Some Democrats insist on voting to expel him from Congress — which the House already rejected — arguing that the symbolic reprimand would only give anti-Santos Republicans a political win with no real action. 


Democrats already tried to force a vote on expelling Santos, which Republicans used to instead call on the House Ethics Committee to conduct an investigation into his alleged misconduct. House rules require that panel to decide soon whether to extend the matter or to release its investigative findings, which some Republicans had said would influence how they approached future votes to punish Santos. 

The top Democrat on that Ethics panel, Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.), declined to comment on the pending censure measures but said: “I am concerned that the people aren’t recognizing that there’s a process to go through with the Ethics committee that should be followed.” 


Democrats are likely to wait for the blessing of party leadership to trigger the censures against Greene and Santos, stressing they have consulted with leaders on next steps. The lead Democrat on the Santos censure, Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), had said he wanted to bring up his resolution before the House left for the August recess unless the Ethics panel released information on its probe, now impossible to do since the Wednesday deadline passed. 


I think Democrats have more to worry about than this censure stuff, given the testimony of ex-Hunter Biden associate Devon Archer on Monday. Mr. Archer will supposedly testify behind closed doors that Joe Biden was involved in the shady government access that his son negotiated, calling in via phone. Some of these proceeds were reportedly funneled into shell corporations. The most damning was the $10 million bribe allegedly paid to Hunter and Joe from Burisma in 2015-16. The FBI’s informant noted how Hunter’s board seat was specifically offered to provide a legal shield for the company.

These are rising to the level of impeachable offenses. Speaker McCarthy already drew a line in the sand on when inquiries could begin on that front. 


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