Four Republicans who opposed Speaker John Boehner on spending and budget issues won’t return to the Budget or Financial Services committees when the next session of Congress begins in January, according to a House Republican leadership aide.
The Republican Steering Committee removed Walter Jones of North Carolina and David Schweikert of Arizona from the Financial Services Committee, said the aide, who asked not to be named. Justin Amash of Michigan and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas were removed from the House Budget Committee, the aide said.
Amash, Schweikert and Huelskamp were elected in 2010 with support of the Tea Party movement. Their reassignments drew a protest from FreedomWorks, an umbrella group for the Tea Party movement.
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“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,” Matt Kibbe, the group’s president, said in a statement.
All four lawmakers opposed the Budget Control Act last year that ended a legislative impasse between the Republican-run House and President Barack Obama that threatened a default on U.S. debt.
The leadership aide said political ideology played no role in the decision, noting that another Tea Party favorite, Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, was placed on the Financial Services Committee. The four lawmakers were removed from the assignments because they weren’t regarded as team players, the aide said.
“It’s the price you pay,” Jones said in an interview off the House floor. “I didn’t come here to be a puppet to anyone.”
“When you come to Washington, whether you be a liberal or a conservative, you need to vote your conscience, and if you’re going to be penalized for voting your conscience, the system’s broken,” Jones said.
In a separate interview, Schweikert said the committee ejections could “become a wedge between the national conservative movement and the conference leadership.”
“This is a lot more than about David Schweikert,” he said.
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