House Republicans abandon controversial changes to ethics office

January 3rd, 2017  |  Source: FT.com

That was fast.

Amid intense blowback, Republicans in the US House of Representatives on Tuesday said they had scrapped planned changes to the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, a non-partisan agency that probes claims of misconduct against House members and staff.

Proponents said the changes would introduce greater due-process into the body’s work, but some Democratic lawmakers and government watchdog groups had criticised the proposed changes, saying they would strip the body of its independence and put it under the oversight of the same politicians subject to its investigations.

Even US President-elect Donald Trump tweeted about it, saying that Congress had “so many things of far greater importance” on which to focus.

Following the outcry, Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader, on Tuesday morning launched a motion to remove the ethics amendment from a package of legislation, which was quickly passed unanimously, said a Republican aide.

“Some members were expressing that they would have a hard time voting for the package” if it contained the ethics changes, said the aide. The broader package sets the rules for the new Congress, which is due to be sworn in later today.




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