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Ind. Rep., House Ethics Committee Chair Responds To Rule Changes

The Indiana Representative who will chair the House Ethics Committee this session says she applauds the decision to reverse proposed changes to the Office of Congressional Ethics.

The U.S. House approved rules late Monday evening, before the new Congress was sworn in, that would have weakened the ethics office, an independent watchdog first established in 2008 under House Democrats.

Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said in a statement the reforms are "worthy of discussion and debate." She says the ethics panel will review the proposal and come back to the conference with any recommendations by late summer or early fall.

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As NPR reports, a storm of criticism followed the Monday evening announcement:

According to lawmakers in the room, GOP leaders said the change was a distraction from their agenda and that the issue needed further vetting.

Public outcry, opposition from ethics watchdog groups, a divided GOP, and two tweets from Trump critical of the rules change prompted a swift reversal of the proposal authored by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

Trump questioned, via Tweet, Congress' priorities. He tweeted a pair of posts saying that while the OCE was "unfair," Congress had more important issues to take up, including tax reform and health care.



In a statement prior to the reversal of the decision, Rep. Brooks said the proposed change "helps ensure OCE's important work is conducted in the manner by which it was intended in the new Congress."

Brooks said the amendment did not change the core mission of the core mission of the Office of Congressional Complaint Review.

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