- On January 2, 2017, House Republicans voted on the eve of the new session of Congress to eliminate the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE)
- The move was made with no advance notice or public debate about the measure
- OCE was created in response to corruption charges of lawmakers, and noted for an aggressive nature
- Within 24 hours, Donald Trump sent a tweet sympathetic to those against the OCE, but did not support its elimination
WHY IT MATTERS
The 115th Congress changing operating rules of the House may affect hundreds of young professionals who work in or with government. The rules will expire on January 3, 2019 after the 2018 midterm elections. Midterm election turnout tends to be low, especially with young voters, but a controversial Congress could possibly change that. Hillary Clinton’s underperformance with young voters was a major key to Trump’s victory. The under-30 demographics’ level of political participation could potentially be a determining factor of policy for the next few years. The social media outcry affecting the decision on whether or not to keep the Office of Congressional Ethics demonstrated young American’s ability to affect the political discourse.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
- In less than 24 hours of the measure, public outcry and a tweeted message from President-elect Trump caused House Republicans to reverse course and keep the office in place
- Some members of Congress, such as Steven King (R-Iowa) say they are still going to press for change in the OCE
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
- How the saga between House Republicans and President-elect Trump signals the next four years of governance will go.
- What does the public and press outcry say about the power of individual citizens in our democracy?
- How will ethics will be monitored and governed in Washington?