Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) may have finally gone too far betraying conservatives. This past week, he removed three conservative Republican Congressmen from their committee positions in retaliation for not voting for his compromises on the budget with Democrats – compromises that led us to the current “fiscal cliff.” Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) was removed from the Financial Services Committee, and Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) were removed from the Budget Committee. All three were elected with strong Tea Party support.
An aide to GOP leadership said they were removed for “not being team players.” Anther aide admitted to Roll Call that it was done out of retaliation, “You want good things in Congress and to have a good career? Better play along nicely.” After removing the Congressmen, Boehner warned other members of Congress that he will be watching how they vote.
The three Congressmen opposed the Budget Control Act last year, which capitulated to the Democrats on big spending. The Act increased the debt ceiling by $400 billion, with the ability to increase it another $500 million to $1.5 trillion. 66 Republicans voted against it. A fourth Republican, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), who voted against the Budget Control Act, was also removed from the Financial Services Committee in retaliation.
Removing Amash and Huelskamp from the Budget Committee will make it easier for the committee to work out an agreement compromising with the Democrats on the fiscal cliff. Boehner proposed a counter-offer to the Democrats' $1.6 trillion tax increase proposal that increases taxes by $800 billion and does nothing to reduce the $16 trillion deficit. It has been widely denounced by conservative groups and leaders, including Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), who is leaving the Senate to head up the Heritage Foundation.