The House voted Thursday to pass a bill that would help recover fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits paid out during the pandemic.
The final vote was 230-200, with 10 Democrats crossing over to vote with the Republicans. An ironic twist on the House floor occurred when now-indicted New York Republican Rep. George Santos, who has been accused of committing this same fraud, voted for the bill. Santos was also a co-sponsor of the legislation.
Santos was indicted this week on 13 federal charges, including fraudulently receiving nearly $25,000 in unemployment benefits. Santos has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and vowed to not only fight the case against him, but continue to serve and vote in the House chamber.
The New York Republican is accused of fraudulently applying for unemployment benefits, with the indictment alleging he falsely claimed to be unemployed in an application for a pandemic-related unemployment insurance program.
Santos hastily exited the Capitol after votes, saying he had no doubts about voting for the unemployment benefits bill he co-sponsored.
“No, not at all,” he said when asked if he had second thoughts about voting for it given the charges of unemployment fraud against him.
“Because the allegations are that I took two weeks over that I was entitled to unemployment. We are looking into it. It’s a little over one thousand dollars. I have no problem making that restitution,” he added.
In his brief moments in the chamber, Santos spoke to no other members. He kept his head down, voted at the electronic vote slot located in the last row, and immediately returned to the cloakroom.