Both parties should have taken up changes to the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, rather than a Republican-led committee, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday morning, before House Republicans dropped their plans to gut the office following tweeted complaints from President-elect Donald Trump about the party's priorities.
"This entity was created so the public could register a complaint against a Congressional member," the California Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "This entity was then supposed to investigate and then they move forward to the Ethics Committee with dismissal or to investigate further. All three of those things stay in place."
The changes were to have gone into the House Rules package, but at about noon, reports surfaced Republicans opted to pull the amendment, which had met with criticism from McCarthy, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and other key Republicans in addition to Trump.
The New York Times called the change of mind an "embarrassing turnabout" for the first day of business, when GOP leaders had hoped to begin reversing many of outgoing President Barack Obama's policies.
The independent ethics office was formed in 2009 after scandals left three lawmakers in jail. House Republicans voted behind closed doors Monday night, with Ryan objecting to eliminating the office and bringing its duties under the guidelines of the House Ethics Committee.
McCarthy said Tuesday morning he had been planning to vote for the measure, but still, he said he did not want politics to enter the decision.
"That's why I thought this wasn't the best time to go forward with it," he told the program.
The changes would have ruled out anonymous complaints or public discussion of ethics complaints, and McCarthy said that rule allows for due process.
"If someone makes or registers a complaint against you, just put their name," he said. "The public can put anything they want across in there, and they're going to be investigated. I also think, just as we go through our legal process in America, people have a right to defend themselves if they're being accused of something, and let them go through and have the investigation, instead of tried in the papers and in the media beforehand."
The change will also help the public know where to file reports and will speed up the process for investigations. McCarthy said that is the reason he was supporting the measure, even if he thinks it should have been done as more of a bipartisan move.
Also on Tuesday morning, McCarthy discussed the work that is expected soon to start the repeal process for Obamacare.
"If you'll watch, we'll start taking up the budget first in the Senate first for 2017," McCarthy said. "The repeal process would probably go through the mechanism of reconciliation ability to be able to do it. That takes fewer votes inside the Senate. And then that gives you the time frame to actually put a healthcare system together that works."
Currently, there are 1,022 counties in the United States where residents have just one choice when it comes to Obamacare providers, and 18 of the 23 co-ops have collapsed.
"You've got premiums that have risen more than $4,300," McCarthy said. "So if you do nothing, this is collapsing upon itself."
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