December 8th, 2012
12:19 PM ET
1 year ago

Booted from plum committee seats, three GOP reps want answers

(CNN) - Three Republican lawmakers who say they were removed from committee assignments without explanation fired off a letter to House Speaker John Boehner on Friday demanding answers.

"After learning of our removal, it came to our attention that a scorecard was presented to the Steering Committee to make the case for our removal from those committees," the freshmen lawmakers wrote.

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Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona had served on the Financial Services Committee. His colleagues Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas sat on the Budget Committee.

They say a scorecard of votes was used to determine whether they would return to their committee posts in the next legislative session.

"After learning of our removal, it came to our attention that a scorecard was presented to the Steering Committee to make the case for our removal from those committees," their letter read. "On Wednesday morning, Mr. Huelskamp stood before the House Republican Conference and asked to see a copy of the scorecard used to remove us."

Some have suggested their reassignments were in response to the members' willingness to buck party leadership.

A request for comment from Boehner's office on Saturday was not immediately returned.

Amash, Huelskamp and Schweikert also objected to the manner in which they learned of the news.

"I learned through news reports. So I started to hear the word on Monday and didn't hear anything from leadership Monday, Tuesday," Amash said Friday on CNN's "Starting Point," adding that on Wednesday he began to ask for answers.

Asked if he had been "trying to embarrass" the House Republican leadership during the past legislative session, Amash insisted "that's totally ridiculous."

"There are people like me in Congress who are out there representing the vast majority of Americans who want us to balance our budget. It's not a matter of who is willing to work with Democrats or Republicans," he said. "It's about whether people are serious about getting things done to balance our budget."

Amash wouldn't say whether he would support Boehner's re-election as House speaker.

"Well right now I'm not very happy with the speaker. So let's see what happens over the next several weeks," he said.

The three members requested that Boehner provide an explanation for their removal by Monday.

Huelskamp won the seat of a retiring Republican in 2010 and was previously in headlines in the final days of December 2011 when he considered objecting to a last-minute deal to extend the payroll tax cut. At the time, he described it as the Republican House having "caved yet again to the president and Senate Democrats."

He and many lawmakers had already returned home for the holidays, and the measure passed the House by unanimous consent. "Problem was, by the time we were notified that the unanimous consent agreement would be offered, where I come from in Kansas, I can't get to Washington quick enough on this short notice," he said on CNN.

Amash also won the seat of a retiring Republican in 2010, while Schweikert defeated an incumbent Democrat to win his seat.


Filed under: House • John Boehner
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. John Dillinger

    There are many things Obama could do this second term. These are the top ten. 1. cut defense 2. close foreign military bases 3. universal health care 4. kill NDAA 5. kill Patriot Act 6. kill TSA 7. close Gitmo 8. end Bush tax cuts for the 1% 9. close drone program 10. begin serious Climate Change Operation

    December 8, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  2. ET

    Like it or hate it, Amash shoots from the hip. Good job. Can't shoot down a midwest boy...

    December 8, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  3. Bobby Ray

    Not surprising, the GOP is sooooo much more about party loyalty than running the country.

    December 8, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. orthogenic school

    Perhaps they could go work for Jim DeMint.

    December 8, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. NameFrank Deery

    As a Moderate Republican, I believe The Speaker has to compromise and move to middle ground, and around the extremists in our Party. Smart move-BUT will a liberal President do the same?? We shall see if The Speaker prevails on this gesture. Ball is in Obama's court-to end spending and compromise on taxation, which Obama failed to reform in general. Three years of "fundraising" for his comfort-zone instead of Leading Congress-and learning his job-has been his contribution since. Now, no more elections loom for him, so is he up to it?

    Push comes to shove-as the chickens return to Roost!

    December 8, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  6. dubyaluver

    Justin Amash is finding out what we already know, the Republicans are tired of Tea Party tactics and one way ultimatums, as are the majority of Americans. Mr Amash is incapable of this and is a no brainer for removal from this committee. He was appointed after all, as a Freshman Congressman, and his steadfast denial in this interview, indicates he has a lot to learn about compromise.

    December 8, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  7. Ugly_Repiblicans

    This is a perfect example of Republicans using their power to do what is best for their party (the party which is bought by the rich), rather than doing what's best for the county and its people. If they put someone in office in their party and that person does the right thing rather than what its leaders want, they kick you out. These guys are corrupt and all they care about is the rich corporations, etc. - even rich corporations from foreign countries. The Republican party should be banned from Government for corruption - I'm spreading the word. Unless you are rich or just plain stupid, you do not need to vote for Republicans if you know what it best for America.

    December 8, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  8. Trajan

    WHen you need a strong chain it's best to replace the week links.

    December 8, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. Tad Pole

    OK folks! Here it is!!! The MAAAINNNNN event!!! Teaparty Republicans vs. the old-style Republicans. Take you seats and get ready for a real cage brawl: Two Enter, One Leaves!

    December 8, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  10. USAPeasant

    Shoot, just make this "Scorecard" public to us all. Now I am interested in seeing why they were reassigned. Nothing wrong with keeping a scorecard on their voting records, that's just democracy. What does matter is if they're being booted for being tea partisans or if they're being booted for not following the tea partisans.

    December 8, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  11. lobo joe

    Did these three bozos ever stop to think that they are part of the problem and not the solution?

    December 8, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  12. Mandor

    Amazing. I am shocked, yes, SHOCKED! to learn that a political party would use political loyalty as a measurement of who should keep a poltical appointment. Oh the horrors. What is our world coming to?

    December 8, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. Cado15

    Already home for the holidays?? Good place to be when we are trying to resolve the gorilla in the room...aka 'Fiscal Cliff'

    December 8, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Suge Knight

    Justin Amash has a decent social media following. This just shows how out of touch with the mainstream voter the GOP has become. While I don't support democrats for obvious reasons, I find the republicans/GOP to be just as appalling.

    December 8, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. david

    We are led by a bunch of gangsters. Not to smart, popular people!

    December 8, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  16. Marlene the Dream

    Get used to it, Republican Congressmen. Obstructionists are finally getting their well-deserved boots out, and many more will be packing their bags in 2014.

    December 8, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. Steve S

    Give your House Leadership trouble, and expect to be rewarded for it?
    How clueless is that?

    December 8, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. Barry

    Yet another sign of the irrelevance of the republican party. The blame game, finger pointing and back stabbing is the way things work in that party. After an overwhelming defeat in the elections they still think they know what's best for the country and are willing to ram their views (what happened to small government) down the throats of their own party and the nation as a whole.

    December 8, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. cricket

    Hello Boehner! Is anybody home?

    December 8, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. HelloTampa

    They were booted because they were not part of the "good ol boy club". You know, the ones where you do behind the scene deals, play a few round of golf to talk business, and socialize while the wives talk about the latest fashions and Washington gossip while they eat caviar. You're new to the scene, nobody knows who you are and what you bring to the table.

    December 8, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. demolitician

    good job John keep them in line

    December 8, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Its the republican establishment that need to go!!!

    December 8, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. jk

    Ban political parties as the Founding Fathers intended, and we wouldn't have this bickering in the first place.

    December 8, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. RAWoD

    Congress - Children who cannot play together. The opposite of Progress.

    December 8, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. J.J.

    Poor old John. The tanning bed has shrunk his already pea sized brain and he's losing what little control he thought he had. It's somewhat funny watching the pompous and arrogant power broker squirm as he looks around for a life raft.

    December 8, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
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