House Republicans Vote to Gut Ethics Committee

January 3, 2017 - Michael Che 01/03/2017 Views: 22,212

Republicans in the House of Representatives ring in the new year by prioritizing cuts to the Office of Congressional Ethics in a closed-door vote. (6:46)

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Ah, but let's move onto the big story,

because I'm calling itright now.

What happened today wasthe funniest story of the year.

And I know it's only January 3.It doesn't matter.

-(laughter) -2017 is done.Here's what happened.

Yesterday, the Republicancongressmen got together

to determine the rulesfor the next two years

in the House of Representatives.

Basically, these are the rulesthat govern the procedure

of the House--you know, like which members

can call for a vote; whocan bring a bill to the floor;

do people have to wear shoeswhen voting;

no Muslims; that sort of thing.

Now, you remember that,for the last year,

Republicanshave been selling America hard

on all the stuff they'd do

as soon as theytook over Washington.

You know?Repeal Obamacare, cut taxes,

balance the federal budget.

But there was one thingthat took precedence

over all of those priorities.

NEWSMAN: ...House Republicans voting behind closed doors

Monday night in favor of a proposal

that guts its own independent ethics watchdog,

tasked with investigating misconduct among House members.

Oh...

look at you, Republicans.

New year, new you!

(laughter)

Hey, you know what,Republicans getting rid

of the Ethics Office seems disgusting,

but I have to commend them--

because most people makegood New Year's resolutions

that they can't keep.

You know?These guys are just like,

"This year,I'm gonna be less ethical,

"I'm gonna gain five pounds,

"and I'm never,ever gonna call Grandma again!

"Why? Because (bleep) her! '17!

'17!" That's the signwe have for 2017.

That's the official... '17.

The Ethics Officeis independent--

it can conductits own investigations.

You know?When it suspects congressmen

of things like briberyor sexual harassment.

And they can inform the publicof its findings.

And basically,it's its own thing.

And that's precisely whatthe Republicans tried to stop.

NEWSMAN: The measure would allow the House committee to stop

any Ethics Office investigation and it would bar the committee

from making any public statements.

In English, the important things here are...

is that it would give Congress, effectively, the right

to stop investigating itself.

I'm gonna go out thereand say, uh,

it doesn't matterwhat industry you're in--

when people want less ethics,

that's the first signyou shouldn't trust them.

Doesn't matter who they are.

Forget Congress--they could be, like, a dentist.

The dentist is like,"I want less ethics,"

-you're like, "I don't trust youwhen I'm asleep." -(laughter)

And why are theyinvestigating themselves?

How is that even a thingthat they can vote on?

Like, I rememberwhen I was a kid,

my mom... once tried to instillself-discipline in me.

'Cause someone was stealingcookies in the house.

And so my mom said,"Trevor, I'll let you discover

who's stealing the cookies;you investigate."

And I'll tell you now,I tried to investigate, people,

I tried so hard,but I couldn't catch the person.

(laughter)

(applause)

I really tried. I really did.

So... so, basically,

it was all looking goodfor the Republicans,

and the truth is,nothing could stop them.

Certainly not the Democrats,because in the House--

and this is crazy to say--Republicans don't need

a single Democratic voteto do anything.

Anything. There wasjust one little problem, though.

Citizens.

Members of Congress werealso getting a lot of calls

from constituents saying, "Whatin the world are you doing?"

Constituents were blowing uptheir phones...

That's right. Constituentswere blowing up their phones.

Now, if you're a young person,you know,

bugging someone by phoning themprobably seems like

the most useless idea to you,

because you can just putthe phone on silent,

or block their ass-- I mean,that's what you would do.

But you have to remember,in Congress...

this... this is not a phone.

This... is a phone.

And a lot of people calling itcan be extremely annoying.

And not justbecause of the noise.

Because it ties uptheir phone lines.

They can't make calls.It's sort of like,

remember how back in the day,

when your parents would betrying to get on the phone

and they couldn't,'cause you were on the Internet?

They'd be like,"Get off the Internet!

I'm trying to makea phone call!"

And you'd be like,"I'm downloading a photo

of a naked woman--I'll be done in six hours!"

It's like back then.That's how Congress is now.

And as backward as it seems,that's how you get results

from your representatives--phone calls. Nothing else works.

Not Facebook,not online petitions,

not even Twitter.None of it...

Okay, well, well, there is...

there is one exceptionfor Twitter.

President-elect Trumpslamming the House

for its plan to gutthe ethics watchdog group,

tweeting moments ago...

Even when I expect Donald Trumpto surprise me,

he still manages to surprise me.

He's the personwho jumps out of the person

-who jumps out of the cake.-(laughter)

Double surprise, asshole!

So the people phoned Congress,Tiny Hands tweeted,

and the House Republicans,

well, they slitheredback into their hole.

TV REPORTER: We're following some breaking news,

and it appears that House Republicans

have dropped a rules change

that would eliminate the Ethics Office.

You know what? I, uh...

The truth is I feel badfor Republicans,

'cause I-I understandwhy they did this,

why they tried to get ridof the Ethics committee.

Think about it.Trump comes in, right?

Claiming that he's going todrain the Washington swamp,

but then he's accepting moneyfor meet and greets.

Foreign diplomats are bookingrooms in his DC hotel,

hoping to gain access to him.

Why wouldn't Republicans wanta piece of that sweet action,

and with no oneinvestigating them?

They're probably watching Trump,you know,

splash around in the swamphaving a great time.

Just like, "Yeah."

Obviously, they want to join.They're like,

"Oh, I'm getting in."

As soon as they tiptheir toe in,

Trump is, like, "Hey!

"What did I say about the swamp?

"We're draining it. Get out.

Yay."

Because look at what Trumpjust did to the Republicans.

He left them in the worstpossible position.

They look like (bleep).

They look like (bleep)

for trying to undoall the ethics rules,

and now they don't evenget the benefits.

Yeah. I bet now theEthics Office is, like, so...

You were the (bleep) who triedto cut our jobs. Okay.

Okay. We see you, we see you.

This is a huge wakeup callfor Republicans,

and it's only day one.

That's right, it's only day one.

Republicansdon't seem to understand.

You as Republicans,

you thought you won the election,

but you didn't.

Donald Trump won the election,

and Donald Trump only looks outfor one guy.

Well, two guys.

-Don't forget it.-(applause)