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. Frank

    Crying about it on TV? Classy.

    December 8, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Jon

    The republicans are devouring their young. Hooray!

    December 8, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. PJ

    This move by Boehner was a ray of hope. The obstructionists who don't seem to care about the country but do care about their own political 15 minutes of fame don't belong on important Committees. I think this was a great move towards a realistic, compromising Government.

    December 8, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Bob

    The republican true colors were never really very hard to see. Thankfully, a sufficient number of people were able to clearly see them, and vote accordingly, in the presidential election. Now, it's time for everyone else to wake up and throw this treasonous filth out of poilitics forever.

    December 8, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. Jesus

    Republicans need to realize that serving only the very rich is extremely unpatriotic.

    December 8, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. Michael Preston

    It would appear that the freshmen congressmen have learned that nothing in life is free. I think most of us already knew that without having to be elected to office......

    December 8, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. Chuck

    More republican infighting. I love it.

    December 8, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. bptsj

    Duh! It's politics, what do they think will happen if they don't play ball with the speaker. Obviously novices ....

    December 8, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. RE McCray

    Nice to know that the good ole boys Republican popularity clue is still in full force! Note to self: If you don't vote the way John Boehner wants you too, you might as well not go to Washington.

    December 8, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  10. Rob

    Arizona, Michigan, and Kansas. Arizona's become the new hotbed for the fringe right lunacy with its hatred of all things Latin. Michigan lame duck lawmakers are trying to push for a last ditch effort to make it a "right to work" state that strips unions in favor of corporations. And Kansas, lets see they're home to the "church" that preaches hate and intolerance. I guess the GOP has no alternative but to weed out all the tea-bagger lunatics (or at least re-assign them to benign committees) from its rank if it plans on surviving. I personally do not want to see the GOP shape-shift its way into public acceptance again via Mitt Romney. They've proved to be the party that's willing to do anything it can to stay in power even if it means taking the U.S. down, which doesn't sit well with me as an American.

    December 8, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  11. Sam Adams

    Could be that the Speaker, not having delivered his home state, is in danger of losing his leadership position.

    The art of compromise has been superseded to party line hard line politics and brinkmanship to such a degree that the country as a whole is going to suffer just to make points with the fringe elements of the party.

    December 8, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. massoud

    it is time for people in this country to wake up to the two party system one headed monster and join the Libertarian Party.The Libertarian Party is head and shoulders better then the Dem.'s and Repub.'s, the two party system has had a stranglehold on the political system for over 150 years and the only thing they have to show for it is a $16 Trillion Dollar National Debt . Both the Dem.s and Repub.s are bought off by K Street Lobbyists and vote in conjunction with their paymasters who pull their strings. If you want Freedom and Liberty and the return to our founding fathers principles of such join the Libertarian movement and start voting the special interest candidates out of office.

    December 8, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  13. flatbushfred

    Gee, I guess it's tough when you drag your party into the toilet and then get some payback. Maybe you guys are in the wrong business...

    December 8, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. Eric

    Resignation is always an option, or they could threaten to switch parties. I'm really past caring about members of Congress whining.

    December 8, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. DC Insider

    These three rookies need to decide whether they are Republicans or Independents. Welcome to Washington DC and Big Boy Politics - Oh, and grow up and smarten up. The very LAST thing they should be doing is taking this public and trying to embarass Party leadership - this behavior will get them on the House Janatorial Committee...and not much else

    December 8, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  16. Journey

    Rubio/Cantor 2016!

    December 8, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  17. smokeee

    ummm it only takes a plane flight to get from Kansas to DC. what kind of excuse is that?

    December 8, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. Notadolt

    Michigan Republicans wage war on middle class with new taxes on retired pensioners and other sneak attacks. With this type leadership, the GOP reps who lost their committees should be happy to delink from the party as many former Republicans are now doing. Once a lifetime Republican, the party has left me and others..

    December 8, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. Diogenes

    Are they voting the "will of the people"? I find most on both sides of thaisle do NOT.

    December 8, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  20. caesarbc

    I don't care what happens with this fiscal cliff. It will never be anything like the Great Depression.

    December 8, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. davesfortruth

    Those people should be booted, especially the tool from Arizona.

    December 8, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. tony

    The war on drugs, the war on religion, and now, the war on the tea party?

    December 8, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  23. Bill

    The only problem with this is the Boehner was so overt about it. It happens much more often than we think; party leaders have the right to determine how their assignments will be filled.

    December 8, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. davesfortruth

    Schweikert is a tool, and should be booted.

    December 8, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. Rickapolis

    Sorry lads, but when you buck the system you pay the price. You may not like it, it may not be fair, but that is how the game has been played in Washington for a very long time. Both parties have been at it for generations. Read 'Advice and Consent' for an excellent, relevant and engrossing example.

    December 8, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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