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‘Fed up’ conservatives plot revenge against Boehner


waving flagBy Susan Ferrechio | June 23, 2015

Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Monday in a radio interview that many conservatives were “fed up” with the string of punishment meted out to members who don’t vote in line with the Republican leadership on key legislation.

The latest punishment was handed down to Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., for voting against an important procedural resolution to advance “Fast Track” trade legislation the GOP is eager to pass. Meadows last week was stripped of his chairmanship of the House Oversight Government Operations subcommittee. “So, Mark Meadows, a good man, a good friend, and what they did to him is exactly wrong, and there are a number of us who are fed up with it,” Jordan said on the Laura Ingraham show. “And we are looking for ways that we can say, hey, we are going to stay with Mark and be as helpful as we possibly can.”

It’s not clear what the frustrated group could do to thwart Boehner, but some are kicking around the idea of trying to slow the work of the House. Freedom Caucus members say that while they number a little more than three dozen, there are an additional 20 conservatives who could potentially vote along with them if they decided to take a stand against the leadership by making it difficult to pass legislation. Republicans control 246 votes, and on legislation that lacks Democratic support, the leadership can only afford to lose 29 Republicans.

Anger at the leadership has been brewing for many months, as the GOP retribution against disobedient conservatives appears to have escalated;

  • Just last week, Reps. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Steve Pearce of New Mexico, and Trent Franks of Arizona, lost their posts on the Republican whip team for voting along with Meadows against advancing the trade legislation.
  • Earlier this year, Republican leaders booted Reps. Daniel Webster and Richard Nugent, both of Florida, from the powerful Rules Committee after they voted against John Boehner for a third term as speaker.
  • In the last Congress, Reps. Justin Amash, R-Mich., Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., Walter Jones, R-N.C., and David Schweikert, R-Ariz., were tossed from committees after voting against the leadership.
  • Meadows told the Washington Examiner the move to strip him of his subcommittee chairmanship was made by Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, but came at the direction of Boehner, R-Ohio.Reality 2

“I think it was an action meant to try to humiliate or intimate me, but I wear it as a badge of honor, standing firm for freedom for the American people,” Meadows told the Examiner.

Republican leadership aides say the GOP is not striking back in a punitive manner, but places a high value on loyalty from the members and gives top posts to those who don’t buck the Speaker on certain measures, such as resolutions to advance legislation for debate. Lawmakers who are being punished say the leadership is trying to force them to vote against what they believe is best for their constituents, who have flooded their offices with calls and emails in opposition to the trade legislation. Meadows and other Republicans opposed to the trade bill believe the trade bill would cede too much power to the executive branch and would facilitate trade deals that would cause U.S. job losses.

“There is no honor in bowing to a bully,” Meadows told the Examiner. “There is only fighting the good fight and whether you win or lose, I am willing to do my best to represent the people who elected me.”

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It’s Time for New House Leadership.


Conservatives slam rushed controversial House vote

Alexis Levinson

Political Reporter

Some conservatives are up in arms over a hurried Thursday vote on the so-called “doc fix” for Medicare, which they felt leadership tried to slip by them.

The bill passed in a 30-second voice vote with very few members on the House floor.

The “doc fix” is a temporary patch to prevent a 24 percent cut to the amount of money the government pays doctors who take care of Medicare patients. The cut will take effect on April 1 if Congress does not move to prevent it.

Owing to the tight deadline, leadership opted to bring the bill straight to the floor “under suspension of the rules,” meaning it needed a two-thirds vote to pass — a higher threshold than the normal simple majority. But it was not clear that a sufficient number of votes could be found.

The bill is somewhat controversial — some lawmakers want to strike a deal for a more permanent solution. Others, like Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp, think the way the patch is paid for — which partly involves shifting sequester cuts to Medicare from 2025 to 2024 — is a “gimmick.”

But the potential to not get enough votes turned out not to be an issue. Instead, most members did not get to vote at all.

Shortly after noon, the bill was passed by voice vote, with the chair — Republican Rep. Steve Womack — deciding that two-thirds of the very few members in the room had said “aye.” Most members were unaware the vote was taking place and missed it, as did quite a few reporters.

Some of the more conservative members on the Republican side, who were not necessarily going to vote for the fix, took issue with the way the vote was handled.

“I think they pulled a fast one,” Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who had planned to vote against the temporary fix, told The Daily Caller. Huelskamp was in his office, getting ready to go over to the vote that he thought was going to happen in a few minutes, when he learned they had had a voice vote.

Leadership, he said, “misled conservatives and all of the Republican conference.”

He called the temporary doc fix a “gimmick,” and said passing it was “exactly what the Republican leadership totally and honestly promised they were not going to do on this issue.”

“This has become the way they operate,” he said of party leadership, calling the vote “disappointing.”

Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert voiced his displeasure in a floor speech following the vote — calling the vote “a surprising twist.”

He likened the move to the way the House was run in 2007 and 2008 when Democrats had control, when he would make sure to come back early from the weekend so he could be present to object or insist on a roll call vote if leadership tried to pass something in this manner.

“So I was very surprised today that with us in the majority, our own leadership in charge, something as important as the doctor fix would be brought to the floor on a voice vote,” Gohmert said.

“Now I know that I need to get with some other members and make sure we have people on the floor, since we won’t be sure what our own leadership is going to do,” he went on. “That’s very unfortunate. It’s unfortunate. You need to be able to trust your own leadership.”

Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun was more blunt: “I consider it a step backwards for democracy,” he said in a statement to TheDC. “This Putin-esque behavior is an example of why I voted against Boehner as Speaker of the House.”

“It’s disappointing and it shouldn’t have happened,” said Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador, in a statement to TheDC.

Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash had a similar take.

“Short on votes for controversial spending bill, so GOP & Dem leaders rammed it through by ‘voice vote’ in empty House chamber. Not right,” Amash tweeted Thursday afternoon.

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