With Steve Knight officially taking the oath of office for his second term in House of Representatives — contributing to the Republicans’ 241-194 majority — the 115th Congress convened on Tuesday.
The newly assembled Congress followed a newsmaking GOP reversal over a proposal to weaken the independent Office of Congressional Ethics Monday night.
Knight, whose 25th District encompasses Santa Clarita, was not part of the Monday night stealth vote by a Republican conference committee to strip the ethics office of its independence and bring it under House control – a move that ultimately fizzled Tuesday as lawmakers were swarmed with opposition phone calls from constituents and watchdog groups from both parties, according to reports.
Even President-elect Donald Trump tweeted against the proposal, which was pitched by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.
“I did not support the Goodlatte amendment,’’ Knight said Tuesday.
“My focus in Congress continues to be on advancing priorities that are important to our communities, such as increasing opportunities for small businesses, providing solutions to California’s drought, and bringing jobs back to Southern California.”
Knight, who won re-election in November following a nasty campaign against Democrat Bryan Caforio, was sworn in by House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The Palmdale-based Republican was joined by his wife, Lily, and sons, Christopher, 22, and Michael, 18.
“It is an honor to serve as the Representative for California’s 25th District for another term and I am grateful for the opportunity,” Knight said in a statement.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to advance solutions for our community and country.”
The Republican-led Congress – with majorities in the House, Senate and presidency for the first time since 2006 – plans an ambitious conservative agenda that includes, among other things, repeal of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
But Tuesday, such big-ticket items remained on the distant horizon amid the ceremonies of Opening Day and more routine legislative matters.
Indeed, Knight’s first two votes of the new session were in support of the “Ensuring VA Employees Accountability Act” and the “Biological Implant Tracking and Veterans Safety Act.” Both measures passed.
The first requires the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to keep on permanent file a copy of any “reprimand or admonishment” received by any employee of the Veterans Affairs Department.
The second requires the VA to use standardized processes to track tissue donations, and ensure that such donations come from vendors registered with the Food and Drug Administration.