The House GOP Steering Committee on Tuesday recommended that embattled Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) sit on the House Small Business Committee and House Science, Space and Technology Committee, according to sources familiar with the assignments.
Santos’s assignment to the panels comes after multiple members of his own party have called on him to resign over his admitted fabrications about his work history and education, questions about his campaign finances, misleading claims of Jewish heritage and reported charges in Brazil related to checkbook fraud (which Santos has denied), among other issues.
The recommendation from the House GOP Steering Committee, a panel of around 30 members of House leadership and elected regional representatives, will have to be approved by the full House Republican Conference. The conference typically approves the steering panel’s recommendation.
Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) is the newly-assigned chairman of the Small Business Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Small Business Administration and implemented the Paycheck Protection Program loan program authorized in response to COVID-19.
“I don’t condone what he said, what he’s done. I don’t think anybody does. But that’s not my role. He was elected. He represents a million people,” Williams said of Santos on Tuesday, CNN reported.
Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) is chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, which has jurisdiction over energy, astronautical, marine and other research areas, as well as agencies like the National Weather Service.
A spokesperson for the panel declined comment.
Before his resume fabrications were revealed, Santos told NY1 in November that he hoped to sit on the House Financial Services Committee, “based on my 14-year background in capital markets,” and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, “based on my, I guess, multicultural background as a human being.”
“I think those would be natural fits, and those are also where my passions lie,” Santos said at the time.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has declined to call on Santos to resign, and said the freshman lawmaker would sit on committees.
“I try to stick by the Constitution. The voters elected him to serve. If there is a concern, and he has to go through the Ethics, let him move through that,” McCarthy told reporters last week, referring to the House Ethics Committee.
“He is going to have to build the trust here, and he’s going to have the opportunity to try to do that,” McCarthy said.
Santos is under investigation in New York, but has not been charged with any crime in the U.S. Lawmakers in the past have continued to serve in Congress and on committees until they were found guilty of a crime.
Updated at 6:26 p.m.