WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans appointed embattled Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., to two House committees on Tuesday, despite the fact that he is under federal, state, and local investigation and that fellow Republicans are calling for his resignation.
The Republican Steering Committee, which is led by California Speaker Kevin McCarthy and distributes committee assignments, voted to put Santos on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee and the Small Business Committee, both of which are low-profile panels on Capitol Hill.
Santos’ appointment to the Small Business Committee was confirmed by Roger Williams, R-Texas. According to two Republican sources, Santos will also serve on the Science Committee.
“I disagree with everything [Santos] said and did. OK, I don’t agree with any of that. It’s incorrect “Williams stated this in a phone interview on Tuesday. “He is, however, a member of the committee. We’ll have rules to follow. He does represent approximately a million people in New York, as well as many Main Street issues.”
When asked if Santos would be a distraction to his committee, Williams responded, “It will only be a distraction to those who want to be distracted.”
“We’ll have a lot of work to do, and we’ll do some good stuff, and he’ll be a part of it. And if there are any questions, we will answer them. If they believe [Santos’ controversy] will be the main focus of the committee, they will be sorely disappointed.”
Some Republicans, including South Dakota’s Main Street Caucus Chairman Dusty Johnson, argued that Santos should not be appointed to any committee after admitting to embellishing and lying about major aspects of his biography while running for Congress last year.
Members of both parties had expressed concern about Santos’ access to classified information via a committee position. A House Republican who frequently deals with classified documents and information said last week that Santos “probably shouldn’t be on Intelligence” or the Armed Services Committee, and that the Small Business Committee would be a better fit for him.
Given Republicans’ razor-thin four-seat majority, McCarthy and his leadership team have stood by Santos, despite McCarthy’s promise that he would not be appointed to any top “A” committees, such as Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, or Financial Services.
McCarthy stated on Tuesday that the decision to give Santos committee seats was made by the Steering Committee and not by him alone. When asked why Santos was assigned to two committees, McCarthy said it was standard procedure.
“Every member in the Republican Conference has two unless they’re on [an] ‘A’ committee, then you just get one. “And a lot of people have three,” McCarthy explained.