As accusations and revelations continue to mount, embattled Rep. George Santos is trying his hand at legislating.
He already introduced his first bill, with more planned. And he is co-sponsoring dozens of measures, touching on everything from gun rights to restrictions on transgender athletes to China policy.
Santos, who represents parts of Queens and Nassau County, is facing criminal and congressional investigations following revelations he misrepresented large parts of his resume and biography and after questions emerged about his campaign financing.
What You Need To Know
- Santos recently introduced his first bill, to increase the SALT cap. So far, records show it has no co-sponsors
- Santos, as of Friday, has co-sponsored more than three dozen bills and resolutions introduced by other lawmakers — all of them Republicans
- He is co-sponsoring bills making the AR-15 the national gun, removing impediments to building a border wall, and repealing the Inflation Reduction Act
The Congressman’s legislation
Santos recently introduced his first bill, to increase the federal deduction allowed for state and local tax payments, better known as SALT.
It is an issue that unites New Yorkers in Congress from both parties. However, so far no one has co-sponsored Santos’s bill. In fact, fellow freshman Republican Nick LaLota of Long Island told Bloomberg News he would reject the bill because Santos is behind it.
Political analyst Casey Burgat, who leads the legislative affairs program at The George Washington University, said Santos likely will have a hard time getting his own legislation over the finish line this Congress.
“Given his history, given his reputation, given just how politically toxic he is, he doesn’t have a lot of friends to call on to give him that initial support, that critical support,” Burgat said.
Santos told Spectrum News NY1 he is working on another six or seven bills of his own, saying he is looking at tariffs and issues impacting small businesses.
But as Burgat notes, introducing legislation is simple. Building support to get it passed is the hard part.
The legislation Santos is co-sponsoring
Santos, as of Friday, has co-sponsored more than three dozen bills and resolutions introduced by other lawmakers — all of them, Republicans.
When asked how he decides what to back, Santos said, “We’re looking about values and what, you know, the GOP message is. We were elected overwhelmingly in New York to bring change, and I think I’m supporting policies that transcend that change.”
Santos is co-sponsoring a bill to designate the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle the national gun of the United States and another bill to allow certain active and retired law enforcement officers to carry a concealed weapon handgun in school zones, national parks and other areas.
He has added his name to bills that would remove legal impediments to building a border wall, impeach the Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and repeal President Joe Biden’s signature healthcare and climate spending law — the Inflation Reduction Act.
He is also co-sponsoring legislation to prohibit individuals born male from participating in school sports for women and girls — another issue important conservative Republicans.
“Almost across the board, the list to which he’s attached his name are messaging bills that have very, very little chance,” Burgat said. “They may pass the Republican controlled House, but they have almost zero shot at being brought up in the Senate.”
Asked if it is fair to say that some of the bills he is co-sponsoring are red meat for the GOP base, Santos pushed back.
“I wouldn’t say so,” he said.
Santos has joined every other House Republican from New York in signing onto legislation by Rep. Elise Stefanik that would try to weaken New York’s controversial bail reforms.
He recently offered to co-sponsor legislation targeting him that was introduced by other New York freshmen Republicans. The bill aims to restrict any House member who violates election regulations and other laws from profiting off their own story through media appearance, such as book deals or TV movies.
In response, Nassau County Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, who is leading the legislation, said in a statement, “I consider George Santos’ sponsorship of good government legislation about as seriously as Sam Bankman-Fried teaching a course in business ethics.”
A full list of the bill Santos is co-sponsoring can be found here.