WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) — U.S. House of Representatives is making history this year in ways that weren’t envisioned when the Republican party took control.

On Oct. 3, Republicans voted to oust speaker Kevin McCarthy.

On Dec. 1, they voted to expel indicted Rep. George Santos of New York.

Never before had a House majority voted to evict its speaker, and not since the Civil War had the chamber voted to expel a member who was charged but not convicted of a crime.

As the year comes to a close, the arc of power for House Republicans is at an inflection point, a new era of performance politics and chaotic governing that shows no signs of easing.

Santos’ downfall shows the GOP’s willingness to turn on its own, notably when it is politically expedient, even at the risk of losing another dependable vote from their slim majority that now teeters amid retirements.

But Republicans were split over ousting Santos as they were over McCarthy's removal as speaker.

“One was a mistake and one was righteous and necessary,” said Rep. Nick LaLota, R-N.Y., about the two votes. “What we did today was righteous and necessary if we are going to claim the mantle of being the party of accountability.”

But Donald Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who orchestrated McCarthy’s ouster as speaker, led a wing of Republicans defending Santos' right to his day in court.

The roll call became a test for new speaker Mike Johnson, who told lawmakers they should vote their conscience, as leaders do to signal there is no preferred party position.

There was a moment during the two days of debate when it seemed as if Santos might be able to survive. But even the supportive votes from leadership were not enough, and more than the two-thirds required tally in the House voted to expel him.

Time is slipping for other year-end business in Congress, including passage of  annual spending bills needed to prevent a government shutdown. The next deadline for funding is Jan. 19, 2024.

Johnson told lawmakers they soon will turn to a vote to formally authorize the impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden over the business dealings of his son, Hunter.

A vote could come next week, but it's uncertain that the House, now down a Republican member, will have enough votes for that next priority, historic impeachment proceedings.

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