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Congressional Ethics Watchdog Gets Reprieve and More You Missed in Politics Today

by Countable | 1.3.17

It’s difficult to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in this country and to break through the clutter, so we’re here to make it easier. Here’s what we at Countable are reading today:

1. "House Republicans, Under Fire, Back Down on Gutting Ethics Office"

"House Republicans, facing a storm of bipartisan criticism, including from President-elect Donald J. Trump, moved early Tuesday afternoon to reverse their plan to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics. It was an embarrassing turnabout on the first day of business for the new Congress, a day when party leaders were hoping for a show of force to reverse policies of the Obama administration."

"The reversal came less than 24 hours after House Republicans, meeting in a secret session, voted, over the objections of Speaker Paul D. Ryan, to eliminate the independent ethics office. It was created in 2008 in the aftermath of a series of scandals involving House lawmakers, including three who were sent to jail."

Read more at The New York Times.

Robert Costa, a national political reporter for the Washington Post, tweeted that the "blizzard of angry constituent calls" was crucial in getting the House to reverse course. Countable exists to make that sort of engagement easier, and you can use the "Take Action" button below to tell your reps what the 115th Congress should prioritize.

2. "NAACP occupies Jeff Sessions' office to protest AG nomination"

"The NAACP is staging a sit-in at the Mobile, Alabama, office of US Sen. Jeff Sessions to protest Sessions' nomination as US attorney general. The protesters say they will stay until Sessions is no longer the nominee or they are arrested. "We are asking the senator to withdraw his name for consideration as attorney general or for the president-elect, Donald Trump, to withdraw the nomination," NAACP President Cornell William Brooks said Tuesday afternoon from Sessions' office."

Sessions, a former Alabama attorney general, has been a controversial figure in the past. His appointment to a federal district court in 1986 by then-President Ronald Reagan sank when a former Justice Department employee testified that Sessions had made racist remarks.

Sessions angrily denied the allegations at the time."

Read more at CNN.

3. "Ford Motors cancels $1.6 billion Mexico plant"

"Ford has said it will cancel a $1.6bn (£1.3bn) plant it planned to build in Mexico and instead extend operations at its factory in Michigan. The US car giant will spend $700m on expanding the plant at Flat Rock."

"Ford boss Mark Fields said the decision was partly due to falling sales of small cars and partly a "vote of confidence" in Donald Trump's policies. The President-elect has criticised both Ford and its rival General Motors over production of models in Mexico."

Read more at the BBC.

4. "Senate push for new Russia hacking probe fizzles"

"John McCain and Lindsey Graham are backing off of their push for a select committee on cybersecurity after Russian interference in the election, bowing to the political reality that the Senate Republican Conference largely does not back their idea."

"McCain said he'd spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) about the matter. McConnell prefers to use the Intelligence Committee to spearhead the cyber investigation, and McCain said their discussions had done little to move the GOP leader. “He said he doesn't think we need it," McCain said."

Read more at Politico.

5. "Clintons expected to attend Trump’s inauguration"

"Hillary and Bill Clinton are expected to attend President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20, according to a pair of reports out Tuesday."

"Hillary Clinton discussed whether or not she should attend with advisors and friends over the last few weeks, according to anonymous sources cited in a New York Magazine report. She and her husband ultimately decided to attend "out of a sense of duty and respect for the American democratic process," according to the report."

Read more at Talking Points Memo.

— Erin Wright

(Photo Credit: Public Domain)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(25)
  • Debbie
    01/03/2017
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    There is never a right time to remove ethics in government and certainly not at a time when we know everyone plans to move forward on all kind of proposals and bills against the national interest of millions. We need to watchdog every bill and be ACTIVE and INFORMED citizenry. We are not deaf, dumb and blind and DEMAND transparency!

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  • Lynda
    01/04/2017
    ···

    Glad you have reversed this sneaky action! The GOP is filled with corruption and you vote in secret to make that easier for you all??!!?? Outrageous. I am so disgusted with all Republicans at this point - don't get rid of health care either!!! I rely on ACA!

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  • Tracy
    01/04/2017
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    So you want to avoid ethical oversight? What a dismal message to send to your constituents on your very first day back.

    Like (4)
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  • Lisa
    01/04/2017
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    How wonderful to know public opinion and individual actions carry weight and can still bring about political change.

    Like (3)
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  • Mike
    01/04/2017
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    We must maintain an independent congressional ethics office. Congress must not oversee or control the group that is responsible for investigating and reporting congressional ethics issues.

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  • Sharon
    01/04/2017
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    The GOP is shooting themselves in the foot. Part of me is cheering it on. My brain is telling me it will hurt big time until we call them out-vote them out.

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  • Cheryl
    01/05/2017
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    It's like they're trying to rob a bank and they don't have any masks on!!! #keepemhonest

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  • Andrew
    01/04/2017
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    Ethics is the backbone of trust. You must protect the ethics watchdog!

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  • Wynnie
    01/03/2017
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    The people spoke to the Congress.

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  • Pru
    01/04/2017
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    GOP needs policing and cannot do it themselves. Sneaky and untrustworthy. They are scarey.

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  • Mena
    01/04/2017
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    Very questionable move, and they did it in secret. I don't understand how there are not more laws to protect citizens and hold these elected officials accountable. Even the police need policing.

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  • Gretchen
    01/04/2017
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    Do not vote to gut the Ethics Committee. You have an obligation to be held accountable for your actions. Also it is unconstitutional to fine lawmakers when they have sit ins, or video what is going on. Do not vote for that. Stand against it. I will be watching your vote and posting it on FB.

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  • LukeS
    01/04/2017
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    Even if we don't investigate the Russian hack, we do need to keep a closer eye on them. They could end up being terrible news for the US in the future.

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  • JayinNC
    01/05/2017
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    Are you all idiots, that's all we need is the fox watching the hen house. And why would that be the republicans first act of the new congress????

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  • John
    01/04/2017
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    I didn't think they could feel shame

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  • Connie
    01/05/2017
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    This is very much needed!

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  • Marilyn
    01/04/2017
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    Accountability is paramount to anything else. We need a watchdog over congress. They are always trying to fit pork in whenever they can.

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  • Barbara
    01/04/2017
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    It was a terrible idea to cripple an accountability system however weak it may be. We need more transparency not less. It is amazing how quickly our representatives become entitled once they are in office. And they don't want us to see what they are doing?

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  • Pam
    01/04/2017
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    Barring members from taking photos and video on the house floor is UN American. Not only does it conflict with freedom of speech, but it keeps the American people from being able to view things that those in power don't want them to see. Overturn this piece of legislation.

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  • JayinNC
    01/05/2017
    ···

    Are you all idiots, that's all we need is the fox watching the hen house. And why would that be the republicans first act of the new congress????

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