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By Kevin Freking
Republican Rep. George Santos of New York told GOP colleagues Tuesday he is temporarily stepping down from his two congressional committees, a move that comes amid a host of ethics issues and a day after he met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Santos, who represents New York’s 3rd Congressional District in Nassau and Queens, has faced numerous calls for his resignation and is facing multiple investigations by prosecutors over his personal and campaign finances and lies about his resume and family background.
Santos was assigned to two fairly low-profile panels, the House Committee on Small Business and to the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said the decision was well-received from the GOP conference, saying “I think it was the appropriate thing to do and I was proud of him for getting up and doing this.”
McCarthy met with Santos on Monday night, but did not disclose their conversation.
“You’ll see,” McCarthy told reporters at the Capitol.
Santos, meanwhile, said he would issue a statement later in the day. Asked whether he was considering resigning, Santos replied, “No, I am not.”
Republicans described the decision by Santos as voluntary. Rep. Roger Williams, the chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, said he had not spoken with Santos about the decision and was surprised.
“The bottom line is that he’s chosen to be off committees until his situation gets handled at a level that he’s comfortable with,” Williams said.
Democrats have been highly critical of Santos as well as McCarthy for his efforts to oust three Democratic lawmakers from committee assignments while at the same time appointing Santos, who has lied so thoroughly to his constituents about his background.
“The hyprocrisy just grabs you by the throat,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. “This is a Republican speaker who is seating a human fraud, George Santos, on committees, a serial fabricator about every part of his existence.”
McCarthy blocked Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif, from being re-appointed to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, though they will be able to serve on other committees.
Associated Press writer Lisa Mascaro and video journalist Nathan Ellgren contributed to this report.
Top photo: Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Jan. 25, 2023. Santos told colleagues in a closed-door meeting Tuesday that he is temporarily stepping down from his two congressional committees. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)