Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–January 3, 2017
When Congress sets down for a new sessions, the first thing it does says a lot about what it thinks is important.
After the pomp and circumstance of taking the official oath and the swearing-in of new members is complete, the top Congressional priority is usually given the honor of being introduced as House Resolution 1, or “H.R. 1” for short.
When Republicans took control in 2011, the first thing they demonstrate their opposition to President Obama by passing a spending bill at odds with his budget proposal. In 2009, Nancy Pelosi introduced the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in that first-up slot. Going all the way back to 1995, the Newt Gingrich-directed House introduced the Congressional Accountability Act, which was item number one on Gingrich’s “Contract with America.”
But this time, Congress hasn’t waited for HR 1 to show its cards. It hasn’t even waited for the new class to be officially seated.
House Republicans voted behind closed doors Monday night to rein in the independent ethics office created eight years ago in the wake of a series of embarrassing congressional scandals. …
Under the proposed new rules, the office could not employ a spokesperson, investigate anonymous tips or refer criminal wrongdoing to prosecutors without the express consent of the Ethics Committee, which would gain the power to summarily end any OCE probe.
The number one priority of this Republican Congress? Enabling corruption.
Before this Congress gets around to writing legislation, item number one is destroying any oversight. It’s a move that should remind everyone that the actions of the Republicans in the State Legislature of North Carolina weren’t an aberration. When Republicans say that they have a “mandate,” this is what they mean — a mandate to reshape the course of government, and governing.
While Democrats are debating if adopting a position of opposition is really a good strategy, Republicans are working to remove any means of opposition.
Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House minority leader, joined others who had worked to create the office in expressing outrage at the move and the secretive way it was orchestrated.
“Republicans claim they want to ‘drain the swamp,’ but the night before the new Congress gets sworn in, the House G.O.P. has eliminated the only independent ethics oversight of their actions,” Ms. Pelosi said in a statement on Monday night. “Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress.”
First … but not last.
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