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House Republicans’ Plan To Strip Office Of Congressional Ethics Of Its Power Backfires

In a surprise move, House Republicans on Monday voted to strip the Office of Congressional Ethics of its power with no notice. After Democrats, government watchdog groups, and even President-Elect Donald Trump criticized the move, Republicans reversed course.

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In a surprise move, House Republicans on Monday voted to strip the Office of Congressional Ethics of its power with no notice. After Democrats, government watchdog groups, and even President-Elect Donald Trump criticized the move, Republicans reversed course. But the move shows a concerning chism between what Mr. Trump promised voters and what House Republicans are actually pursuing. Should Republican voters be worried? What exactly is the OCE and why would House Republicans want it gone?

What Do House Republicans Have Against The OCE?

On Monday, House Republicans voted to essentially remove any teeth from the Office of Congressional Ethics. On Tuesday, those same politicians backtracked and halted their plans. However, the damage was done. On the first day of a new congress, this seems like a particularly odd move. But what’s more odd is that the incoming Republican president, Donald Trump, publicly rebuked them for it.

What is the Office of Congressional Ethics?

Put simply, the OCE is an eight-person, independent office of former members of congress, lawyers, and others founded in 2008 to review allegations of misconduct against House members, officers, and staff. The OCE makes recommendations to the House Ethics Committee, and its reports and findings are almost always publicly released. It’s the first independent body to have an oversight role in House ethics and has no Senate counterpart. No current members of congress may belong to the OCE.

House Republicans voted to implement new rules, which stated the OCE would not have been allowed to receive anonymous tips, investigate criminal activity, or share its findings with the public or even other branches of government. The new rules would have made sure the OCE had no ability whatsoever to conduct an independent investigation of potential wrongdoing by members of Congress.

Thankfully, Republicans backed off the move after Trump tweeted that it’s a bad move. But considering Trump promised to “drain the swamp” and clean up corruption and influence peddling in Washington, the move seems like a huge disconnect between the incoming president and his congress. What’s even more of a disconnect is that one of Trump’s top aides, Kellyanne Conway, defended House Republicans, saying the move was necessary for significant change.

What she didn’t mention is that there are multiple House Republicans currently under investigation by the OCE. At least six lawmakers are being investigated stemming from complaints that started under the OCE, including the fourth highest-ranking House Republican, Washington state Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Get more info about their self-policing intentions right here, thanks to Freedom Of Press

For now, the OCE stays intact as it is, but it’s a scary thought that on day one, a new congress is looking to remove any independent oversight. Thankfully, Mr. Trump put a stop to that. One thing is certain, and that is that the next four years should be interesting.

Get last Friday’s business news right here. 


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Featured image via The Atlantic

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Business

Is a Second Stimulus Check Still Happening?

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United States Treasury check being held by rubber glove illustrates US Government coronavirus economic impact payment sent-Second Stimulus Check-ss-Featured

This year’s fall season has never been so hectic and anxiety-ridden. Coronavirus is still a thing. Economies are trying to recover, while businesses are trying to reopen. Jobs are slowly coming back, while schools are in flux. The campaign for the presidency kicked up a notch as it winds to its last stages. Lost in the chaos is an important question among Americans. Is a second stimulus check still happening?

RELATED: New Coronavirus Stimulus Package

Last July, Congress adjourned without coming out with a comprehensive relief program. Both sides continued to negotiate during the break but ended up being further apart. The previous program’s benefits expired on July 31, and until now, there are no new bills. A $600 extra jobless benefit, a moratorium on evictions, and the window to apply for PPP loans all have lapsed since.

President Donald Trump issued executive orders last August that aimed to provide relief. The jury’s still out on the orders, as there were questions on implementation and funding. Now that the Senate is back from recess, there’s hope for a new round of relief for Americans. What the relief package contains is still up for debate.

GOP Proposes the”Skinny Bill”

On Tuesday, Senate Republicans introduced a less-than-expected coronavirus aid bill. It does not have the anticipated stimulus check, but it does have unemployment aid. Instead of the extra $600 unemployment benefit, the GOP proposed half, or $300. The “skinny bill” also includes liability protections for businesses and health-care facilities. It also funded more money for health-care funding and schools. Finally, it also contains the second round of Paycheck Protection Program funding. While the bill provides only a part of the previous relief, it only costs between $500 billion to $700 billion. Unspent funds for Federal Reserve facilities support will cover some of the costs.

All in, $105 billion would go to schools, $16 billion into Covid-19 testing, and $31 billion toward the development and stocking of vaccines. Another $15 billion would go towards childcare grants. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called it a “targeted proposal.” He said: “We want to agree where bipartisan agreement is possible… get more help out the door and then keep arguing over the rest later.” He hopes that Congress will vote on the proposal later this week.

Democrats Say No Again

In response to the skinny bill, the Democrats remained unimpressed. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) noted that this bill won’t help. In a joint statement, they claimed “Senate Republicans appear dead-set on another bill which doesn’t come close to addressing the problems and is headed nowhere.” Dems criticized the bill because it excluded other sectors that need help. Missing are funds for state governments, rental and mortgage, USPS, and food. As a result, the bill likely will not get the needed 60 votes to pass the Senate. It would also take a miracle to get approval in the Democrat-controlled House. 

While acknowledging that Americans need aid, Republicans balk at spending more money. Earlier, they shot down a Democrat stimulus proposal worth $3 trillion. The GOP insisted on a $1 trillion budget and refused to resume talks even when the price tag went down to $2 trillion.

Reacting to the Democrats, McConnell said: “Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer said a targeted deal on jobless benefits and the Paycheck Protection Program would be ‘piecemeal,’ but then-Speaker Pelosi came rushing back to pass the most piecemeal bill imaginable: Postal Service legislation.” He noted that this bill “completely ignored the health, economic, and education crises facing families.”

McConnell added: “Everything Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer have done suggests one simple motivation: They do not want American families to see any more bipartisan aid before the polls close on President Trump’s re-election. They have taken Americans’ health, jobs, and schools hostage for perceived partisan gain.”

The Deadline is Looming

The November elections are putting the squeeze for incumbents to do something. The White House, in particular, would prefer the release of second stimulus relief aid before the polls. Incumbents facing tough reelection also need party help to boost their chances.

It’s time for parties to realize that there is more than the election at stake. The more important deadline was the one set by everyday Americans. Election year or not, if a second stimulus check will happen, it has to happen now.

Watch CNBC Television: Texas Senator Ted Ruz doesn’t believe Congress likely won’t pass stimulus before Election Day:

Do you support the “skinny bill” that the Republicans will submit to a vote this week?

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Do you think that both parties can come to terms with submitting a bipartisan bill to provide a second stimulus relief package to Americans? Or has the time run out to come up with something? Let us know how you feel about this by leaving your comments below.

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Business

American Firms Keep Hiring, Easing Worries of Weakening Economy

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The unemployment rate is “now at a half-century low of 3.5%” – this matches the lowest jobless rate since 1969 – and economists have also given a warning that hiring would soon slow because there are fewer unemployed workers. However, in November, employers added 266,000 jobs – the highest number since January. Monthly hiring has averaged 205,000 for the past three months.

Associated Press reported that “Friday’s jobs report largely squelched fears of a recession that had taken hold in the summer. Steady job growth has helped reassure consumers that the economy is expanding and that their jobs and incomes remain secure.”

President Trump tried to focus voter’s attention on the state of the economy instead of his impeachment inquiry. Trump even tweeted “JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!”

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Economy

Could Trump’s Tariffs Hurt The U.S. Economy?

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Could Trump’s Tariffs Hurt The U.S. Economy

About a year ago, the media was talking about how Trump’s trade wars could negatively affect many industrial companies, the agricultural sector, and right down to the every day American worker.

The recent stats from Gross Domestic Product has now revealed the current reality of Trump’s multiple front trade war.

Data shows that imports increased, while exports decreased by over 5%. Business investments have declined by 0.6%, and this decline has been happening since 2016. Most North American corporate capital spending is also on a declining trend.

Trumps’s tax reform was short-lived for most American companies. We did not get many benefits from the trade tensions either. U.S. corporate debt is getting much worse and far more significant than household debt.

Many are speculating that the cutting interest rates will lead to more zombie companies that will threaten both the U.S. and global economy.

Click here to learn more.

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