Harmeet Dhillon, a leading local Republican, agrees with Bay Area House Democrats on at least one thing: Gutting the Office of Congressional Ethics is not a good idea.
"I don't think it sends the best message to be focusing on amending, or what is perceived as scaling back, ethics oversight," Dhillon said in an interview after House Republicans changed course and agreed to withdraw a change to House rules that would have weakened the independent watchdog office.
The about-face took place the day after congressional Republicans approved changes Monday night, leading to public outcry not only among Democrats and government watchdog groups but also from House GOP leaders, and prompting disapproving tweets from President-elect Donald Trump.
Republicans in Congress should be focusing on other legislative priorities like health care and tax and trade policy, said Dhillon, a San Francisco-based Republican National Committeewoman who also serves on the board of the California Republican Party.
In the meantime, Bay Area members of the House, all Democrats, woke up to a new reality: They have very little power in a Congress that is now run by Republicans who can essentially change policy without Democrats in the room.
The ethics office controversy became the first issue for Democratic South Bay Rep. Ro Khanna on his first day on Capitol Hill.
"It's appalling," Khanna said in an interview Tuesday. "This entire election was about change and reform and cleaning up Washington," Khanna said. "If anything, we need to be strengthening the ethics requirements. Efforts to undermine it are mind-boggling."
To San Francisco congresswoman and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, as well as East Bay Reps. Barbara Lee and Mark DeSaulnier, the about-face by congressional Republicans represents a GOP in disarray.
"Once again, the American people have seen the toxic dysfunction of a Republican House that will do anything to further their special-interest agenda, thwart transparency and undermine public trust," Pelosi said in a statement.
"Rather than working for American families, House Republicans have spent their first day back doubling down on dysfunction and infighting," Lee said.
"I don't know what goes on inside their caucus," DeSaulnier said. "Some of it is theater."
The entire affair will contribute to the lack of trust many Americans have for Congress, according to North Bay Rep. Mike Thompson.
"Whenever you do something like this, it just puts a cloud over that trust," Thompson said. "When you're dealing with something as important as the credibility and ethics of Congress, it should be done in a bipartisan way, and it should have been done in full daylight in public, fully transparent, not under the cover of darkness by one party."
KQED's Peter Jon Shuler contributed to this report.