Updated December 12, 2018 12:08:08 The House has passed the first of two pieces of legislation aimed at repealing the rule that Congress has for nearly two decades that all executive branch officials must be shielded from prosecution for the behavior of their staffs, as well as the behavior and influence of their allies.
The House passed the bill on Wednesday with a vote of 217-213.
The measure would also give immunity to executive branch aides and political appointees, as long as they did not break any law, or if they acted with a good faith belief that doing so would not be considered a violation of federal law.
It would also exempt the president, the vice president and the secretary of state, all members of Congress, the attorney general and any federal judges or lawyers from prosecution.
Republicans who are seeking re-election next year have made their opposition to the rule clear.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said during the debate on Wednesday that he opposes the rule and wants to make sure it “does not apply to the president or the vice-president.”
The bill would apply to executive orders and executive orders-related rules, and it would extend immunity to federal employees, except for employees of the Department of Justice and the attorney-general.
The rule has been in place since 1979 and was written to protect members of the executive branch who had been caught up in an investigation or prosecution by the Office of Special Counsel.
But it has not been used to hold political appointors in check by protecting the political appointee from prosecution, as required by federal law, said Michael Waldman, a former special counsel for the OSC.
The bill, if signed into law, would also allow for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the conduct of political appoints, a move that is considered controversial.
Democrats say the rule, which was designed to protect government employees who were involved in wrongdoing, is now being used to shield the executive.
“We have the same problems with the revolving door, the revolving doors, the cronyism of the revolving, the political influence,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
said during a speech on the floor.
“It is not the rule of law.
The president of the United State is not immune from prosecution.”
The House also passed the second piece of legislation on Wednesday, that would expand protections for the Office for Congressional Ethics.
It also expands protections for members of congress who were caught up, or who were believed to have been caught, in political misconduct.
It is expected to pass in the Senate, which is expected later this week.
The Office of Congressional Ethics is the primary investigative arm of Congress and the legislative branch that investigates and prosecutes members of congressional committees and their staff.
Its staff is also part of Congress’ investigations into the behavior or influence of members of each chamber’s leadership.
The legislation would extend that immunity to members of both houses of Congress.
It passed by a voice vote with the support of only eight Democrats.
The White House is expected soon to send a letter to Congress that would explain why the OCE should be exempt from prosecution under the new legislation, and could possibly ask Congress to change its law.
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