Rachel Maddow Goes off on House Republicans for Scrapping Independent Ethics Office
Despite his initial wariness of the incoming president, coupled with Trump's low general election polling, House Speaker Paul Ryan recently claimed he spent much of 2016 preparing for the possibility of "unified government," he told CNBC in December.
"The House went through the entire exercise, every committee working, every member of the House Republican Conference," Ryan explained. "I told our committees a year ago... 'Assume we get the White House and Congress and then come 2018 what do you want to have accomplished for the country'?"
We now have one of our first indications of what Ryan considers an "accomplishment" for the country. Just three weeks before Donald Trump takes office, House Republicans voted to gut the independent ethics office, a move announced late Monday, January 3. But shortly after Trump criticized their priorities in a tweet, they pulled back.
Trump's criticism was somewhat muted compared to Elizabeth Warren's and Rachel Maddow's. Trump merely criticized the timing. Rachel Maddow did not mince words about this move.
"Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is ready to rock and roll," Maddow opened, before explaining that while Republicans "are in charge on both sides of Capitol Hill," the party actually lost a total of eight combined seats in the House and Senate.
"The new Congress gets sworn in [January 3] and what they say they are going to start working on out of the gate is a tiny little list," Maddow said sarcastically.
"Rip up Medicaid, which is the health insurance that more than one in five Americans are on... kill the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau... kill the Wall Street reforms that were put in place after the crash, the Dodd-Frank law... start privatizing the VA, which most veterans say they are very opposed to, and of course they want big tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and for corporations and that's just the start, that's what they want to start with," Maddow warned.
"Remember all those dozens of times they fake-repealed Obamacare? Now we know why they did it so many times: Practice, practice, practice," she added.
As if that agenda weren't bad enough for Democrats, House Republicans met in a closed-door conference just three weeks before Donald Trump takes office and voted to severely diminish the power of the independent ethics office in Congress.
"This is the Office of Congressional Ethics. It was created eight years ago after a particularly lurid period of repeated congressional scandals," Maddow reminded viewers.
The House decided to put the investigative department under a congressional committee, but it's not just a simple bureaucratic change.
"What that means is there's no more independent ethics oversight of Congress," Maddow explained, horrified. "This means that lawmakers themselves now get to police themselves now for ethics, and this means that no ethics investigation information will have to be released to the public. They can police themselves now."