WASHINGTON DC, (WDTN) -Members of the 115th Congress returned to the capitol in Washington DC Tuesday to be sworn in for the start of their new session, but a late Monday night vote by house republicans got the day off to a controversial start.
They voted to limit the power of a house ethics committee. It was a move that drew criticism from many, including other republicans.
The vote Monday night was a plan to limit the power of the independent agency that oversees and investigates any ethical problems with lawmakers. After a morning full of backlash, House Republicans flip flopped.
The move would have proposed to prohibited the independent group from investigating anonymous complaints and releasing findings of those investigations.
Critics said it would have limited accountability and was the direct opposite of President Elect Donald Trump’s “drain the swamp” promise.
In fact, even Trump tweeted about the rule change vote saying Congress should be focusing on other issues that have far greater importance.
After the backlash, house republicans scrapped their plans to change the ethics committee for now. We asked Ohio Representative Mike Turner about it.
He says there are currently two ethics oversight bodies and the one they want to change is highly partisan and political.
“That body really needs to be brought back under the umbrella of the ethics process and we are going to be looking for a bipartisan solution to do that. Partisan should not be part of ethics. Ethics should be straight forward and we are certainly going to look for a process that does that,” said Turner.
Congressman Turner said his goals for this year’s session include repealing sequestration and replacing parts of Obamacare.
“I think there are other items we can look forward to that will lower cost such as portability, across state line competition –other areas where we can bring back some market principals to healthcare and hopefully improve the quality,” said Congressman Turner.