UPDATE: House Reverses Decision to Gut Office of Congressional Ethics After Criticism


By Amira Garewal and Leila Tjiang

A reversal of the House Republican’s vote to significantly reduce the power of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) has been made less than 24 hours after the initial vote. The decision was made only hours after receiving criticism from President-elect Donald Trump.

“With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it … may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance,” Trump said in a series of tweets earlier this morning.

Earlier, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy also expressed their opposition to the decision.

The timing of this decision only makes the ordeal more awkward, as the 115th Congress officially convenes today, therefore making this one of the first decisions and one of the first reversals of the House in the New Year.

If the House had followed through with their decision, the OCE an independent and internal investigative committee dedicated to reviewing the potential wrongdoings of House Representatives would’ve been placed under the control of the House Ethics Committee. In other words, it would’ve been placed the office underneath the direction of the very lawmakers to whom they investigate, eliminating their power to review lawmakers.

This article is aimed to summarize the most important points of this event. For further reading, explore the following:

House Republicans Back Down on Bid to Gut Ethics Office, E. Lipton and E. Flegenheimer, New York Times

House Republicans pull plan to gut independent ethics panel after Trump tweets; D. Walsh, M. Raju and D. Diaz; CNN