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. Paul Johnson

    I'm a republican and I am fed up with people like Boehner and McConnell. Amash is a smart representative that wanted to balance the budget and bring some common sense into Washington.These republicans want to do some good but are shut out by those at the top.

    Disgusting.

    December 8, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. TopView20

    When will Americans take back our nation? The GOP has degenerated into the dark shadows of silent decisions, immediate expulsion of lawmakers who are willing to work with democrats on important issues, and deadly deals that are never brought to light for the public. How long will it take America to learn that the world's "Evil Empire" has moved into our legislative and executive branches of government under the symbol of the republican party? The GOP is no longer concerned with America's problems or the American people. The GOP is a closed party of millionaires who solely respresent the interests of America's billionaires who put them in office. The states of our union did not come togeter in order to gratify the top 1% of the western world's wealthiest power-mongers. Eventually, the other 99% of our people will decide that the 1% in control of their lives need to go. And the kings will have no kingdom in which they rule...

    December 8, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. whaddayknow

    Well, there you go. What's more important to the GOP old guard – following lock-step with the party line, or trying to dig this country out of a financial mess?? The answer seems to be obvious.

    December 8, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. Josh

    Funny how the speaker picked all white males to lead these committee’s as well. The democrats picked a mix of races and both genders. It goes to show you the GOP is an all-white male club that only uses a few token minorities for photo ops but won’t give them any real power.

    December 8, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. rock woman

    Do these tea party clowns really think they're doing something good and making things better? They're not. They're only making Congress more disgusting and incompetent than ever. I'd have said that couldn't be done. I'd have been wrong.

    December 8, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. bill

    who cares their republicans

    December 8, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. Real Patriot

    if the scorecard means the people who received the most lobbyist dollars got sacked. its all good.

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

    maybe there are republicans who are not controlled by the reactionaries who keep electing Bonher. There may be hope for America yet.

    December 8, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. TheLostSurveyor

    Republican's have become freely accustomed to calling liberal Americans socialist or communist based on tenuous similarities between them. Well what do we call conservative Americans who share their own tenuous similarities to fascist's? Patriots? I think not.

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

    These freshman Congressman are under the misconception that the voters in their district elected them to be a cross between God and Attila the Hun, until they get to Washington and find out they are very small cog in an enormous machine, and to get anywhere or impact the direction of the Federal government they need to follow directions from their leaders and be a team player, just like on a sports team or in industry.

    December 8, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. Nelson

    One can only hope that power will begin to be wrested from the Tea Party crazies, and that Boehner might start to pull them back somewhere in the vicinity of reality

    December 8, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. Kent Bowen

    Welcome to the big time, boys. That's how the system works. Go cry somewhere else.

    December 8, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. Richard Phillips

    A whole article without addressing the reason why Boehner dropped them from their committee roles. Were they Tea Party jerks and does this represent some leadership on the part of the Speaker Boehner? Was it the opposite? Get your information right, folks.

    December 8, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. Ms Shantrice

    Here we go again. BOEHNER, UNRAVELING of a party who wants to destroy AMERICA, the land they claim to love!

    December 8, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. MrManhattan

    The Republican leadership now finally understands that unless they kill their Frankenstein Monster they made to go after Democrats, it will soon grow powerful enough to eat it's creators.

    I can't tell you how amusing it is to watch this after almost three decades of buildup.

    December 8, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. k

    GOP slobs eating themselves.

    December 8, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. Rosslaw

    These three new blushing right-wing freshmen are hurt, absolutely hurt, to find that a secret vote based on information they have not seen was the basis for their getting booted. Welcome to right-wing world.

    December 8, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  18. Jerry Prather

    Don't these guys realize that they are in POLITICS!!

    December 8, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. Dan Halen

    Is this the part where they start to eat their young?

    December 8, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. BillSD33

    "There are people like me in Congress who are out there representing the vast majority of Americans" – you sir are not one of them. You represent a small minority of the US that wants you to stand in the way of progress and shut down the government if you don't get what you want.

    December 8, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. TerryG

    Not to worry Tim Huelskamp, we love lunatics like you here in Kansas. Afterall, look who we made our governor.

    December 8, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. kc_and_fa

    Never offend the king.

    December 8, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. tom

    Maybe they should have a Union if they think they were not treated fairly.

    December 8, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. svann

    If these are the tea party gop that nixxed the budget compromise Boehner worked out with Obama last year then I think he cut you slack for way too long. Buh bye.

    December 8, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  25. Peter Clarke

    Lets start spending cuts with some of these archaic subsidies like big oil, like farm subsidies where you are paid to grow and then destroy crops, how about cotton subsidies and that all popular angora wool subsidy. To really get serious you 535 legislators need to turn your backs to the special interest lobbyist's and truly support the American people. So far you have all been spineless.

    December 8, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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