December 8th, 2012
12:19 PM ET
10 years 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. AnnieM

    The internal cracking has begun. Members who aren't quite crazy enough are either quitting or getting ousted. It' only a matter of time...

    December 8, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. bayousara

    Hey, you four! You represent the Tea Party, not the Republican Party! And I am a Democrat and saw right through what you have been doing! If you can't take it you can resign your seat like DeMint did.

    December 8, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Mike

    Sounds like tea party newbs that are being made an example of before the Rep capitulate on Obamas push to raise taxes on the top 2%. The message is, get in line and begin to moderate your stances because the tea baggers arent going to hold the House hostage any longer

    December 8, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. Smeagel4T

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Welcome to "Der GOP Party"!!! It's only the Democrats that permit their caucus members to think for themselves. The GOP is like the military - fall in line and do what you're told unless you want latrine duty.

    December 8, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. James

    The Tea Party's mandate has lost its fangs and the GOP leadership now views it for was it is...inflexible and problematic to getting a deal done given the reality of Obama's reelection.

    December 8, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. david

    I don't understand. Do these people ljke Boehner really think childish stuff like this will go unnoticed by the public.

    December 8, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. alan_turing

    Interesting turn of events as GOP tries to plug the holes in the dike. Maybe there are a few free thinkers left in the GOP house. Nothing wrong with being a conservative unless you are bat sh$t crazy.

    December 8, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. pgr

    Wait a minute representative from Michigan! You are representing the voters of your district who elected you, no me in Ohio or others throughout America. You speak for yourself and your district. There is only one person that I know in Washington elected by all the people.

    December 8, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. Shut Yo Mouf

    The GOP is finally crumbling.....perhaps they will return to reality and start looking out for the middle class and not just their superrich and Corporate puppet masters? But I won't hold my breath.

    December 8, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. IAMBeowolf

    Well well well... I guess they will just have to move on with their bad selves and start letting adults run the system.

    December 8, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. tanthonys

    We all should APPLAUD and support these fine representatives for standing up to the political bullies.

    December 8, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. Name

    I think banner and all the Republicans want this country to go down hill so that they can blame it on the black guy for not getting the budget done Republicans Democrats are worthless we need a revolution in our nation's capital

    December 8, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. pgr

    Next election run as an Independent if you do not like real politics and the political games in our two party system.

    December 8, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. Sean

    Here is an example of how unstable the Republicans are. Speaker Boehner will not be reelected and will never be respected because he can't work with the President!

    December 8, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. Tyler

    People will continue to blame republicans for no coming up with a deal.. but what most people don't realize is this is a bi-partisan government, and the simple fact is the Obama administration wants to create one-sided bills. Sounds to me like the dems want to rule the country like a dictatorship.

    December 8, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. Steve

    By my thinking, the faster John Boehner can get his merry band of thieving Republicans to eat their own, the better!

    December 8, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. frontgate

    Such is politics. Go with the flow.

    December 8, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. Zan

    They consistently gave the finger to, Boehner, the guy handing out the positions and they have the gall to ask why they were fired. They keep it up and they will have to follow DeMint into politician retirement, AKA become a lobbyist.

    December 8, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. pbernasc

    he he the clean up inside the GOP has started ...

    December 8, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. Democrate

    I'm glad this is all going viral in the press. This will show the public, just exactly who the obstructionist are. Exactly which ones could care less about the people and care more about their own Swiss bank accounts. Boehner's only one of them. Since he's the head Rep in the House, he's the most obvious. Wanna wager on this re-election?

    December 8, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  21. JAS

    And yet they still stand by the republican party. You either follow the republican party line (right or wrong) or you are an outcast. This is exactly why I am no longer a member of the party. I vote for the person, not the party and while I more and more non-republican, I would still vote for someone in the party if they where doing the right thing. The republican party will eventually destroy itself from within, by diving out the more moderate members and voters as the last election showed.

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

    Ok, I'm confused! Were they booted because they were for compromise or against compromise?

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

    These are the consequences when you don't fully embrace Republican "political correctness".

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

    Well it is clear anyone that wants to get things done is a direct threat to the Speaker of the House. It explains a lot the speaker is scared of Grover Norquist and his threats. Do the work we the people sent you to do Mr Speaker or resign.

    December 8, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. JohnRJohnson

    The power of the Speaker of the House of Representatives is tied directly to his ability to control his caucus. That has been the measure of every Speaker in the modern era. That power comes from the Speaker's authority to appointment members of his caucus OR remove them. These three 'loose cannons' refused to listen to the leader of their own caucus and continually displayed rigid dogmatic thinking in their votes. Boehner was smart to take them off their committees. This is happening because of the extremism in the GOP right now. Certainly, there are far left liberals in the Democrat's caucus, but they are not as ideologically driven as the right-wing of the Republican Party.

    December 8, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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