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House Republicans Drop Proposed Ethics Committee Change After Trump's Tweets

After voting to effectively scrap the Office of Congressional Ethics on Monday, House Republicans have changed course after Trump chastised the move.
January 3, 2017, 6:18pm
US Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia. Photo via Flickr user Gage Skidmore

House Republicans were all set to move the Office of Congressional Ethics—an independent watchdog group tasked with investigating lawmakers for misconduct—under the congressionally controlled House Ethics Committee after a 119–74 vote on Monday. Or at least they were, until Donald Trump took to Twitter and chastised the move, Politico reports.

After the vote, the president-elect promptly tweeted, "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! #DTS."

Less than two hours after the tweets, House GOP leadership called an emergency meeting and decided to drop Virginia representative Bob Goodlatte's proposed amendment that would have effectively scrapped the Office of Congressional Ethics from the rules package, CNN reports.

The proposed change—which drew criticism from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, outside ethics watchdog groups, as well as the president-elect—was largely backed by Republican members of the House who had been investigated by the committee. House Speaker Paul Ryan voted against the amendment, but ultimately defended it after the vote, breaking with Trump.

"After eight years of operation, many members believe the Office of Congressional Ethics is in need of reform to protect due process and ensure it is operating according to its stated mission," Ryan said in a statement Tuesday. "I want to make clear that this House will hold its members to the highest ethical standards and the Office will continue to operate independently to provide public accountability to Congress."