President-elect Donald J. Trump continues to have an influence on the political process and the economy, though he has yet to spend a single moment as president and won’t until Jan. 20.
Earlier, the House voted on controversial changes to the Office of Congressional Ethics, but after being called out by Trump via Twitter, the Congress held off. Per Fox News:
The new Republican-controlled Congress gaveled into session at noon, and the opening day largely was being spent on leadership elections and other matters. Speaker Paul Ryan was elected to a full term in the post Tuesday afternoon.
But GOP leaders worked quickly to resolve the dispute with Trump after he challenged fellow Republicans Tuesday morning on the ethics office plan. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., held a short meeting and moved to pull the language.
The semi-independent ethics body was created in 2008 to investigate allegations of misconduct by lawmakers after several bribery and corruption scandals sent members to prison. Under the change initially pushed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the non-partisan office would fall under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee, which is run by lawmakers.
Thus ending the independent part of the “independent ethics panel.”
Democrats chimed in to oppose the plan as well–interesting, given all the scandals tied to the Democratic Party via the WikiLeaks revelations last year–while Trump urged the GOP majority to focus on real issues and real problems, like repealing Obamacare, doing tax reform and other priorities that actually mean something to the American people.
“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 tweeted, showing once again how he plans to use social media rather than the mainstream media to communicate with the public.
Indeed, regardless of whether the changes were necessary or not, Trump has a point: ‘Can we get on with doing some business for the American people instead?’