House Republicans Vote to Weaken Ethics Office, Then Change Their Minds
New York Times – On Monday night, House Republicans voted to weaken the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, which was set up in 2008 following several corruption scandals in Congress. Ignoring top Republican leaders, the congressmen voted to create a new Office of Congressional Complaint Review, which would report to the House Ethics Committee, essentially creating a system in which an office meant to oversee the House would have to report to the people they were overseeing.
This morning, President-Elect Donald Trump took to twitter to scold the House Republicans, tweeting, “With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance!
#DTS.” (#DTS stands for “Drain the Swamp.”)
Within hours, House Republicans reversed course, withdrawing their proposal. It is unclear whether the reversal was due to pressure from the Republican leadership, angry constituents who were bombarding congressional offices with phone calls this morning, or the tweets from Donald Trump.
Judge Blocks Controversial Bill from Being Enacted in North Carolina
U.S. Uncut – As U.S. Uncut reported last Friday, “Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens granted a temporary restraining order to stop Senate Bill 4 from taking effect, which would strip the governor of his power over the State Board of Elections.” Many people referred to Senate Bill 4 and the actions of the North Carolina Republicans as a coup when they passed it during a special legislation session before the end of last year. Their moves were aimed at lessening the powers Democrat Governor-Elect Roy Cooper would have when he took office. This move by Judge Stephens has stopped the law from going into effect on January 1.
Ford Cancels Mexico Plant
BBC – On Tuesday, Ford Motors announced that it is canceling the plant it intended to build in Mexico and instead will be expanding its factory in Michigan. Ford CEO Mark Fields explained his decision as partly a “vote of confidence” in Donald Trump and his policies and partly due to declining sales. Trump made the Ford plant in Mexico a target early in his campaign, repeatedly promising to make sure Ford wouldn’t go through with it or would face steep tariffs if they were to sell their cars back to the U.S.
Sessions Nomination Protested by Over 1000 Law Professors
Washington Post – On Jan 3, 2017, 170 Professors from 48 states signed a letter declaring their fears that Jeff Sessions would “not fairly enforce our nation’s laws and promote justice and equality in the United States” and sent that letter to the senate. The professors cite his problematic history on race and equality.
Renter’s Forced Into Homelessness by Wall Street
Bloomberg – Investors are placing a higher priority on large profits and less on keeping people in their homes. Big time investors are taking advantage of the low cost of eviction to quickly move renters from their homes. A practice that is having a larger effect on the “poor, mostly black neighborhoods.” Some renters are getting merely a week to vacate their homes for reasons like falling behind on rent or simply the landlord wanting possession.