Speaker of the House John Boehner seems to have finally decided he needs to get something done on behalf of the country–or at least on behalf of his own reputation. He and the GOP leadership booted two of the party’s most conservative members off of the House Budget Committee.
Tim Huelskamp of Kansas and Justin Amash of Michigan, voted into office by Tea-Partiers in 2010, are among those who most often oppose Boehner when it comes to a vote. They both voted against last spring’s Ryan budget because it wasn’t drastic enough. Both also voted against raising the federal debt limit, and both oppose any tax increases. Boehner is now in the process of offering compromises to Democrats and the White House to avoid going over the so-called “fiscal cliff”–by way of tax hikes and automatic spending cuts–at the end of the year. With Huelskamp and Amash on the Budget Committee, compromise looked out of reach.
Two other conservatives, David Schweikert of Arizona and Walter Jones of North Carolina, have been removed from the Financial Services Committee. All four men were notified by the House Steering Committee, which makes committee assignments, that they will be reassigned elsewhere. The Representatives involved and the conservative groups who support them are up in arms over the changes. A statement released by Huelskamp said:
“[Leadership] might think they have silenced conservatives but removing me and others from key committees only confirms our conservative convictions. This is clearly a vindictive move and a sure sign that the GOP establishment cannot handle disagreement.”
FreedomWorks, a conservative non-profit group, sent a letter to its supporters urging them to call Speaker Boehner in protest. According to their figures, Amash has a 100% lifetime approval rating with the group, while Huelskamp and Schweikert have a 96%–near perfect agreement. FreedomWork’s president, Matt Kibbe, had this to say:
“This is a clear attempt on the part of Republican leadership to punish those in Washington who vote the way they promised their constituents they would — on principle — instead of mindlessly rubber-stamping trillion dollar deficits and the bankrupting of America.”
“Congressmen Schweikert, Huelskamp, and Amash are now free of the last remnants of establishment leverage against them. We expect that these three defenders of economic freedom will become even bolder in their efforts to defend the taxpayers against the big spenders in both parties.”
Let the battle for the soul of the Grand Old Party begin. And may the country be the ultimate winner.