From The Reporter's Notebook
As TPM's Tierney Sneed reported, Republicans officially took their first steps toward Obamacare repeal, with a budget resolution introduced Tuesday that will act as a vehicle to kickstart the reconciliation process lawmakers say they will use to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. It is expected that lawmakers will use a similar process with a budget resolution that comes in the spring that takes on an overhaul of the tax code.
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Josh Marshall: "When the Democrats took back control of the House in the 2006 wave election, they did so with the rampant corruption of the congressional GOP as one of their major campaign themes. So in the Spring of 2008 they created the Office of Congressional Ethics, a congressional oversight office which was independent of the members themselves. The House Ethics Committee is supposed to handle ethics questions. But it's run by members and was generally as good at sweeping ethics issues under the rug as addressing them. More generously, in an era of intense partisanship, it was often simply un-runnable. In any case, the OCE was able to do a lot of things the Ethics Committee could not. It could look into anything it wanted to. It could issue recommendations to the Ethics Committee. This may all seem a bit like inside baseball. But in the world of oversight, it was actually a pretty big step in having someone with some actual power keeping an eye on members."
"They're seeing it and they're loving it."
- During a speech at his New Year's Eve celebration in Florida, Donald Trump gave a shout-out to his business partner in Dubai.
BUZZING: Today in the Hive
From a TPM Prime member: "I'm sure that part of it is that leadership has to look at the big picture, and they don't want to have to be out in front defending this thing, while the other members are more concerned with OCE investigating them and creating oppo fodder. (It also could be that Ryan genuinely believes in the OCE's work, even if it's only to spare him from having to deal with scandals, but I think the optics problem is enough to explain his opposition.)"
Related: Trump wondered in a pair of tweets posted Tuesday morning if Congress should be focusing on weakening the "unfair" Office of Congressional Ethics as its "number one act and priority."
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What We're Reading
Ailing Vermont town pins its hopes on 100 refugees from Syria and Iraq. (The New York Times)
15 writers share the worst thing they wrote in 2016. (Newsweek)