by Matthew Boyle 12 Dec 2012
Conservatives in the House Republican conference are becoming more and more upset with House Speaker John Boehner’s purge of more conservative members from their committee assignments, Breitbart News has learned. While many won’t go as far as purged conservative Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp in publicly saying Boehner’s speakership may be in jeopardy, many are voicing concerns about the Speaker’s tactics.
“I am concerned that the message that emanates from that [the Boehner purge] is that members should be less independent in their thinking,” Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King told Breitbart News in a Tuesday evening interview, for instance. “That is contrary to the visions of our founding fathers and the structure of our constitution. We each have a responsibility to the franchise, which is our vote card, and that’s [a responsibility] to our constituents. We have a first fidelity to the constitution and to our constituents, and I’d take this opportunity to remind everybody in this Congress of that.”
Arizona Republican Rep.Trent Franks voices similar concerns, and points out that more conservative members like himself could actually be useful to Boehner in his negotiations with President Barack Obama on things like the ongoing fiscal cliff fight.
“I believe that if – and this is an ‘if’ – if members are ever removed from committees based on voting like Republicans, then we’re inevitably headed toward division,” Franks told Breitbart News. “I simply don’t know all of the rationale behind this, but you have to realize that the Speaker and the individual members all have the same overall goal and that’s to do what’s right for America. But, we have different roles and sometimes we are both contributing to what is right for America even though our votes don’t match up with leadership all the time. For instance, someone like myself being very conservative and being unwilling to vote for certain things allows the Speaker to be able to look the president in the eye and say, ‘You know, those conservatives won’t vote for this.’ And, he’d be telling the truth and it strengthens his hand.”
Not all conservatives are publicly upset about it, though. Outgoing Florida Republican Rep. Allen West – who lost his bid for re-election to Democrat Patrick Murphy – told Breitbart News on Tuesday that he’s not going to get involved in this fight either way because he’s not coming back to Congress next year. “I’m not a member of the 113th Congress so I don’t have anything to say about it,” West said.
Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash, who was purged like Huelskamp, said in a Tuesday night statement that Boehner should release the scorecard used to conduct the purge.
“I have received a response from Speaker Boehner concerning the secret scorecard used to target certain fiscally responsible members of the Budget and Financial Services committees,” Amash said. “The Speaker did not dispute the existence of a scorecard and he did not deny that it was used to justify the Representatives’ removals. I recently was told that I received a ‘0’ on the Republican leadership’s scorecard. Given my work with Democrats and Republicans on serious proposals to balance the budget, it is certain that the scorecard awarded points for supporting bigger deficits and more debt. Americans deserve to know the priorities of the current House leadership team. As fellow House Republicans, we deserve to know how we’re being judged when we vote. I’m proud of my fight for a balanced budget. Our leaders should be proud of the positions they take. Mr. Speaker, show us the scorecard.”