The American People spoke loudly in November. They sent us to Congress to immediately work on issues that are critical to our Nation. This past week, we did just that and passed several very important bills. Unfortunately, a lot of the hard work that we accomplished our first week back was overshadowed by an issue that shouldn’t have even come up: the Office of Congressional Ethics, or OCE.
The OCE is a little-known, independent body which serves as a watchdog to keep Members of Congress accountable. We’ve seen several examples over the years of Members being charged and convicted of all sorts of different offenses. While the ethics office serves an important purpose, there is no question that it is in need of major reforms. For some time, the OCE has come under scrutiny, by members of both parties, for its lack of due process and other blatant inefficiencies.
On New Years’ Day, the day before Congress was set to begin its business for the year, the Republican caucus met to discuss possible adjustments to House operations for the new Congress, including making reforms at the OCE.
While there should be important reforms made to the OCE that both Republicans and Democrats agree on, such as ensuring due process and open transparency, I opposed this proposal. I believe it’s important that these kinds of changes to the ethics office be made in a bipartisan effort and after robust debate and discussion from both parties. I did not agree with the nature of this proposal.
Most importantly, I believe that in our first week back in Congress, we have much more important business to address. The American People sent us to Congress to fix the real problems facing our Nation. This is not their priority.
I am humbled and thrilled to be sworn in for my second term in Congress. We have elected a Republican House, a Republican Senate, and a Republican White House. It’s time we help resolve the issues and challenges that matter to the American People.