John Boehner finally did something ballsy today: he kicked four House Republicans off of key finance and budget committees, for bucking his leadership, including two who voted against the poor people smacking Ryan budget, not because it was too cruel, but because it wasn’t cruel enough. Don’t call it a purge, righties … or do … “Has John Boehner decided to crack down on dissent within the House caucus? Roll Call’s Jonathan Strong reports on a reshuffle of the committee-assignment deck that leaves a few conservatives without a hand in the coming fiscal-cliff fight…” Ed Morrissey writes on Hot Air, quoting the following from the aforementioned Roll Call:
Speaker John A. Boehner initiated today a small purge of rebellious Republicans — mostly conservatives — from prominent committees; it’s the latest instance of the Ohio Republican’s clamping down on his fractious conference.
The decisions were made by the GOP Steering Committee at a Monday meeting, which reviewed a spreadsheet listing each GOP lawmaker and how often he or she had voted with leadership, three sources said.
Reps. David Schweikert of Arizona and Walter Jones of North Carolina were booted from the Financial Services Committee. Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas were removed from the Budget Committee.
According to a source, Schweikert was told that he was ousted in part because his “votes were not in lockstep with leadership.”
The thinking is that Boehner is making these moves, particularly on the budget committee, where Paul Ryan (who suddenly, along with his Senate pal and fellow ex tea party enthusiast Marco Rubio, is just a dude who wants to help poor people) … still holds court, to pave the way for a cave in … I mean a “deal” on tax cuts. That is probably true. And it’s probably going to get really ugly. Here’s ultra right winger Daniel Horowitz of RedState:
Folks, this is just the beginning, and these people need to hear from all of us. Please call these members and ask them how they feel about conservative Reps. Schweikert, Amash, and Huelskamp being thrown off their committees. Ask them if they were a part of the decision. Steve Scalise, as the incoming leader of conservatives, should be leading the charge on the committee against the purge. It would be interesting to get his take on yesterday’s developments.
This is just the opening salvo in a long war. House leaders have made it clear that they will punish conservatives for standing by their election promises. All conservatives in the House need to band together on this because anyone could be next.
Ultimately, there’s only one way to win this. We must overwhelm them with greater numbers in congressional primaries.
And this from Politico:
Speaker John Boehner’s pitch of $800 billion in new tax revenues already has tea party-backed conservatives accusing GOP leaders of peddling a plan that would destroy job growth. Conservative outside groups are urging their party’s rank and file to rebel and reject any new taxes. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his leadership team pointedly declined to endorsethe proposal.All told, it points to a party still struggling to find a way out that doesn’t destroy its reputation with the activist base or take the nation over the fiscal cliff. The question remains: Does it hold firm by its party’s small government principles and reject any new taxes — no matter the cost? Or does it try to stake a middle ground and cut a bipartisan deal to end the partisan gridlock, even if it means latching on to a deal that would force the conservative base to recoil?
In an email blast on Tuesday, the Tea Party group FreedomWorks told its members to call Boehner’s office and tell him to “stop purging fiscal conservatives,” highlighting the ouster of Amash, Huelskamp and Schweikert.
Conservative activist Brent Bozell warned Republican lawmakers not to accept any deal on the so-called fiscal cliff, saying in a statement, “It would be impossible to count the times and ways Boehner, [Rep. Eric] Cantor, [Rep. Kevin] McCarthy and so many others have told America that tax hikes would kill jobs and cripple the economy. Lo and behold, that’s just what they’ve proposed, $800 billion of them.”
Bozell was referring to the GOP leadership’s fiscal cliff offer that would raise $800 billion in tax revenue to help close the deficit without raising rates.
The Club for Growth called the lawmakers’ reassignments “a consequence of their principled stands on behalf of pro-growth policies, often bringing them in conflict with the leadership of their own party.”
The members who lost their committee spots loudly voiced their displeasure.
Huelskamp unloaded on GOP leadership Tuesday at a Heritage Foundation event in Washington, saying, “We were not notified about what might occur but it confirms in my mind the deepest suspicions that most Americans have about Washington D.C: it’s petty, it’s vindictive, and if you have conservative principles you will be punished.”
The president’s proposal is designed to fail and designed to take the nation right up to the so-called fiscal cliff.
If the GOP breaks in the end and give him his rate increase then he will not only have won a big victory but also will have left his rival political party in a shambles, having forced Republicans to violate the core principle that has animated their party for two decades. Obama could head into 2014 midterms knowing that Republican primary voters would be undertaking a vicious ideological fight on taxes.