Rep. George Santos faces expulsion and a pneumonia uptick in Ohio, China: Morning Rundown

Israel resumes combat operations in Gaza. The House is scheduled to vote on whether to expel Rep. George Santos from Congress. And carbon monoxide deaths at Airbnbs mount after a company pledge disappears.

Here’s what to know today.

House is poised to expel George Santos from Congress

Rep. George Santos is expected to be ousted from the House, following two previous attempts to expel the congressman from New York, who has admitted to lying about parts of his past and faces charges that include wire fraud and money laundering. A vote is expected to start around 10:30 a.m. Eastern today.

Several representatives were hesitant in the past to vote to expel Santos. But Santos began losing significant support last week after a damning House Ethics Committee report, which detailed allegations that he deceived his donors, filed false campaign statements and used campaign money to fund his lavish lifestyle. 

Santos would be only the sixth U.S. representative to be expelled, if the vote succeeds. Three representatives were ejected for disloyalty after they supported the Confederacy during the Civil War. And two others were expelled in 1980 and 2002 after they were convicted of federal crimes. But “without a conviction or without having committed treason,” Santos argues his expulsion would set a horrible precedent. Read the full story about the impending vote. 

So, what happens if Santos is ousted? First, he would immediately be stripped of his position as a member of Congress. And New York officials would have 10 days to schedule a special election to fill the vacancy. Here’s what else to know.

This is Morning Rundown, a weekday newsletter to start your morning. Sign up here to get it in your inbox.

Airstrikes resume in Gaza after weeklong cease-fire ends

Israel renewed its assault on the Gaza Strip early Friday after the end of a weeklong truce with Hamas, pummeling the Palestinian enclave from the air while warning civilians to leave parts of southern Gaza in a sign that it intends to expand its ground offensive.

International mediators said they were still working to restore the cease-fire, which saw the release of more than 100 hostages held in Gaza and 240 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. The pause had raised hopes for a broader deal, but that appeared to have collapsed as the two sides traded blame while smoke rose from Gaza’s ruined skyline and sirens wailed in Israeli border communities.

Follow our live blog for the latest updates.

DeSantis and Newsom battle over abortion, taxes, crime

The showdown between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and California Governor Gavin Newsom on Fox News was filled with disagreements, but California’s governor said there was one thing the two leaders had in common: “Neither of us will be the nominee for our party in 2024.” 

DeSantis is fighting for next year’s Republican presidential nomination but lagging by large margins behind former President Donald Trump. Newsom insisted he wasn’t running a shadow campaign for president, as some Republicans have suggested. If anything, “The Great Red vs. Blue State Debate” had the appearance of a preview for 2028.

The nearly two-hour debate featured spirited exchanges and attacks. On Covid, DeSantis talked about keeping businesses like Disney World open and blasted Newsom for school and business closures. On education, Newsom took issue with DeSantis’ framing of restrictions on books in public schools. That’s not all. The two also debated the economy, immigration and other hot topics.

What to know about outbreaks of ‘walking pneumonia’

Warren County, Ohio, is experiencing a pediatric outbreak of pneumonia — including a number of mycoplasma pneumonia (sometimes referred to as “walking pneumonia”). It’s the same illness that has also driven recent outbreaks among children in Denmark and China. In Warren County, officials there say there have been no reported deaths and that the illnesses are no more severe than in previous years.

Despite the surges worldwide, there is “nothing to suggest” this is a new or “more dangerous” strain of bacteria, said Dr. James Cutrell, an associate professor of infectious diseases at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. 

Here are the basics: Mycoplasma pneumonia is often a milder form of pneumonia, except that symptoms may last longer in some cases. In older kids and adults, initial infections usually resemble chest colds. Children under the age of 5 often develop cold-like symptoms. Learn more about symptoms, treatment and why an uptick is happening now.

Today’s Talker: Sure, traffic is stressful, but your car exhaust may be…

…one of the culprits that’s causing your blood pressure to rise while you drive. Findings published this week in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that vehicle exhaust can spike people’s blood pressure sharply, almost as soon as they begin traveling. To observe the immediate effect of pollution, researchers sent 13 drivers on two-hour trips along Seattle thoroughfares (sounds fun, right?) with varying air filtration devices. Here’s a closer look at what the study found.

Politics in Brief

Budget negotiations: Leaders of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus are softening their hard line on government spending, with the group’s chairman saying he now supports the $1.59 trillion overall spending level negotiated by Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy.

Jan. 6 litigation: The Supreme Court today will consider whether to hear appeals brought by people charged with offenses related to the Capitol riot in cases that could have a major impact on the criminal prosecution of Donald Trump. 

FBI headquarters: An internal watchdog for the government agency that chose Maryland as the location of the FBI’s new headquarters will launch an investigation into the site selection process, which has come under scrutiny.

Supreme Court ethics probe: The Senate Judiciary Committee approved subpoenas for GOP megadonor Harlan Crow and conservative activist Leonard Leo. During yesterday’s vote, Republican committee members walking out and later argued the subpoenas were invalid. 

GOP lunch: Sen. Rand Paul performed the Heimlich maneuver on fellow Republican Sen. Joni Ernst during a lunch at the Capitol.

Staff Pick: Airbnb’s silent killer

At Airbnbs across the world, people have died from carbon monoxide poisoning. NBC News has identified 19 deaths since 2013 in countries such as Mexico, Brazil and China. But the company still doesn’t require detectors, despite calls for change from victims’ families. In this story, I spoke to people left devastated and frustrated by the deaths and reviewed autopsy reports and other documentation to survey the scale of the issue. — Ben Goggin, deputy tech editor

 In Case You Missed It 

  • The husband of family vlogger Ruby Franke has filed for divorce three months after she was charged with six counts of felony child abuse.
  • Tinnitis, or ringing in your ears, may be linked to “hidden hearing loss” similar to phantom limb syndrome, according to research.
  • A former server at Donald Trump’s New Jersey golf club was sexually harassed by her supervisor and then conned into signing an illegal non-disclosure agreement, a lawsuit alleges.
  • Michael Latt, a social justice advocate and Hollywood figure, was killed at his Los Angeles home, targeted because he was friends with a woman the suspect was stalking, authorities said.
  • Red Lobster said its $20 unlimited shrimp was too popular and too cheap.

Select: Online Shopping, Simplified

Hanukkah starts in a week. If you’re celebrating or attending a gathering, you may be looking for gifts that your loved ones will appreciate. From a banana-shaped menorah, to Hanukkah-themed Crocs and a festive T-shirt, here are the best Hanukkah gifts to shop ahead of the celebration.

Sign up to The Selection newsletter for exclusive reviews and shopping content from NBC Select.

Thanks for reading today’s Morning Rundown. Today’s newsletter was curated for you by Elizabeth Robinson. If you’re a fan, please send a link to your family and friends. They can sign-up here.