WASHINGTON – House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to take plum committee assignments away from four conservative Republican lawmakers after they bucked party leaders on key votes isn’t going over well with advocacy groups that viewed them as role models.
Reps. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas and Justin Amash of Michigan will lose their seats on the House Budget Committee chaired by Rep. Paul Ryan next year. And Reps. Walter Jones of North Carolina and David Schweikert of Arizona are losing their seats on the House Financial Services Committee.
Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, was named Tuesday to fill one of the Financial Services Committee vacancies.
The move is underscoring a divide in the Republican Party between tea party-supported conservatives and the House GOP leadership.
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, said Matt Kibbe, president of the tea party group FreedomWorks.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said Tuesday that the party’s steering committee made the decision based on a range of factors.
Groups aligned with the tea party movement were generally big supporters of Huelskamp, Amash and Schweikert. Jones, more as a conservative maverick than a tea party Republican, has opposed GOP leaders on a range of issues over the years.
All four lawmakers voted against the summer 2011 deal negotiated between Republican leaders and President Obama for extending the government’s ability to borrow money in exchange for $1 trillion in spending cuts and the promise of another $1 trillion in reduced deficits.
Huelskamp called the move a sure sign that the GOP establishment cannot handle disagreement.