House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy spent the first two days of the new year trying to shore up GOP support for his bid to be Speaker by releasing a series of proposals aimed at winning over hard-right detractors who stand to torpedo his ascension.
The part of his proposed changes to House rules that drew the most attention was allowing just five House members to call for a vote at any time on ousting the Speaker; that would render McCarthy beholden to the most extreme members of his caucus, should he get on their wrong side. But buried in the text was another provision that could be highly consequential for the new Congress being sworn in on Tuesday: language that would effectively gut the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), as the independent panel faces pressure to investigate lawmakers who participated in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Most significantly, McCarthy’s proposal would require OCE to hire its staff for the 118th Congress within 30 days of the resolution’s adoption, a requirement that sources familiar with the process tell TIME would make it exceedingly difficult for the office to have the resources it needs to conduct its investigations, given how long it takes to hire candidates for roles in the federal government. The proposal would also block OCE from hiring new employees over the next two years if someone leaves their position, sources say.