It has been a busy week on the House floor, especially for U.S. Rep. Anthony D’Esposito. He not only passed his Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, but spoke out in support of a resolution to expel his fellow Long Island Republican representative, George Santos.
The resolution was reportedly first introduced by a Democratic House member from California, U.S. Rep. Robert Garcia.
Santos was indicted this month, accused of 13 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and making materially false statements to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Last week, D’Esposito took to the podium to urge the bipartisan House Ethics Committee to take swift action in getting rid Santos, who he called a “pathological liar.” The House ultimately voted to refer the resolution to the House Ethics Committee instead of voting on the resolution itself.
“I was the first member of Congress to say that he should resign, but unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that in order for a member to be expelled, you need two thirds of the vote of Congress,” D’Esposito said. “They don’t have the numbers, so that’s the problem.
“I don’t think that George should serve another day in Congress. The quickest way to rid this institution of this stain is to refer this issue to the House Ethics Committee.”
With 18 months to go until the general election, seven candidates have already put their hats in the ring looking to take over Santos’ district. Former Democratic Hempstead town supervisor Laura Gillen and Olympian Sarah Hughes seek to face D’Esposito for his seat in the fourth congressional district.
Gillen lost to D’Esposito in November’s election, but recently said in her official announcement she is running again “because public service can be a noble calling that makes people’s lives better.” However, “too many in Washington care about political gamesmanship, sound bites and photo opportunities than actually making real progress for our families.”
Gillen previously told the Herald one of the reasons she decided to run was because of the Republican position on the national debt crisis. The GOP insist President Biden reduce spending before they will agree to raise the debt ceiling.
D’Esposito recently helped House Republicans pass the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023, which is intended to increase the federal debt limit and decrease spending. The bill also quashes several tax credits, modifies the permitting process and other requirements for energy projects, expands work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and nullifies actions by the federal education department to suspend federal student loan payments, discharge debt and implement a new income-driven repayment plan.
D’Esposito dispelled concerns the bill would make financial cuts to Veterans Affairs. Instead, he said it essentially caps discretionary spending and decreases the spending level for fiscal 2024.
“It grows the economy, it saves taxpayers money, and it protects veterans, defense spending, Social Security and Medicare,” D’Esposito said. “We believe the Limit, Save, Grow Act is exactly what this country needed, and more importantly, it was this first step in negotiations with the president and the Senate.”
With the Santos “stain” potentially damaging the reputation of the Republican Party, Democrats could come out in full force to reclaim his district, D’Esposito’s and others to take back the House, where the GOP maintains a very slim majority.
Reflecting on the policies and efforts brought forth by his colleagues such as Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin, Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino and North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena, D’Esposito believes voters aren’t focused on the alleged misdeeds of one man, but looking at what the party is doing as a whole.
“I don’t believe Santos has tainted Republicans,” D’Esposito said. “I think voters see that the Republican way of governing Nassau County and Long Island is the right one.
“I’m preparing the same way I’ve prepared for every election in my life, and that is working hard now. It’s delivering on promises.”