Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Walter Jones, Justin Amash, Dave Schweikert And Tim Huelskamp Kicked Off Key Committees By Boehner For Being Too Independent


Boehner & Cantor targeting independent-minded Republicans

Late last month we looked at how pissed off the Republican grassroots was about how Boehner manipulated the process of picking committee chairs to come up with a bunch of obedient hacks. While the rest of the country was making fun of the GOP for being unable to make room for a woman chair-- they eventually "awarded" Candice Miller the chair of the policy-free Housekeeping Committee-- the far right was moaning that, other than California neo-fascist Ed Royce, there are no hard-core rightists in the chairs... although it's hard to image they could be angry about wingers like Paul Ryan, Jeff Miller and Jeb Hensarling, each of whom is far to the right of your average Republican congressman.

This week they're whining and spitting about something worse. The GOP Establishment, still smarting from their loss in the new Scottsdale-centered 6th district, where GOP lapdog Ben Quayle lost to a far more right-wing David Schweikert 53-47%, struck back at Schweikert. His staffers are telling right-wingers that Boehner kicked him off the House Financial Services Committee, accusing him of not toeing the leadership's line. RedState describes him as "one of those 2010 freshmen who is actually a Tea Partier in deed as well as rhetoric.  While many freshmen folded under the pressure from leadership, Schweikert was actually removed from the Whip team because of his conservative dissent during the budget battles."
Well, House leadership made sure to elevate like-minded members to leadership; they took care to co-opt the Republican Study Committee; they packed the Steering Committee, which chooses committee assignments, with a bunch of loyalists. Now we’re seeing the effects of those decisions.

Maybe it’s because he’s intent on repealing Dodd-Frank. Maybe it’s because he wants to use his committee assignment to advocate winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Perhaps it’s because of his opposition to the $1 trillion farm bill. Maybe it’s because he’s just too darn conservative to sit on an important committee.

...And who is replacing him on the committee? Our good buddy, Richard Hudson (NC-8), who was handpicked by leadership to run. Hmmm, I can’t remember the last time a sophomore member was replaced by an incoming freshman for no good reason.

Moreover, there are at least seven vacancies on this committee.  It’s not like there were too many qualified candidates. Cantor and McCarthy went out of their way to banish Schweikert from the committee, even though he is one of the few remaining freshmen who were reelected. It’s pretty sad they are willing to let their personal vendetta lead their decision to knock off one of the most knowledgeable members on issues pertaining to GSEs and monetary policy from the committee.

Then there’s the case of Tim Huelskamp (R-KS).  He is one of the most conservative members of the House. He was told today that his service on the Budget Committee would no longer be appreciated.

There are more conservatives who are being left off any A or B level committee as we speak. Some don’t have any committee assignments yet for next year.

It’s becoming clear that there is only one faction that demands ideological purity. And it’s not the faction that upholds the ideology of the party.
The far right is plenty pissed off. All the plumb positions on the top committees are going to Boehner lackeys and teabaggers are being eliminated from positions where they could be "effective" in their deranged obstructionism against policies even remotely aiding working families. Also kicked off their key committees were independent-minded Walter Jones (R-NC)-- who was a subcommittee chairman on House Financial Services and who Cantor tried to beat in a primary-- and libertarian Justin Amash (R-MI), who fancies himself the next Ron Paul, and currently sits on Paul Ryan's Budget Committee.

Two of the most deranged far right groups under the conservative umbrella, Heritage Foundation and the Koch brothers' own little Tea Party, Americans For Prosperity, are going nuts over all this. Huelskamp is the property of the Koch bothers so they're furious about the way he's being treated but what's getting both organizations even angrier is that Boehner and Cantor are dragging the House Republicans into compromising with Obama. A Heritage spokesperson, Dan Holler, pointed out that, from their perspective “Republicans were reelected in the House to stop Pres. Obama's agenda, not figure out creative ways to fund it." The Koch brothers spokesperson, Tim Phillips, had much the same to say: “Conservatives are looking for a leader to fight against tax increases, to push back against wasteful government spending, and address the fiscal challenges in a bold way. Sadly this plan leaves conservatives wanting." We'll leave this argument with a tweet early this morning from South Carolina secessionist Jim DeMint:

The Democrats are also going through some balking at their House leadership's willingness to balance the Budget on the backs of working families. We'll soon see if the New Dems who control the caucus have the clout to sideline progressives. That in mind, here's an editorial, in part, written by progressive freshman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) in the Merrimack Journal last week:
The election is over. Both the congressional losers and winners have to zero in on the so-called fiscal cliff.

They have to study ideas for a “grand bargain,” and consider the various ways to reduce the debt and deficit.

The sequester is looming. The 112th Congress failed to do anything about these issues, but they still have a little time before the 113th Congress is sworn in to vote on those issues. The 113th Congress, which I will be part, has to be prepared on day 1 to vote, in case the 112th fails again to do anything. So, two Congresses are studying the problems and possible solutions. And, in the meantime, businesses and individuals wait, worried, angry and impatient for a compromise. Will there be one?

I know it is the American tradition to compromise. I grew up in a Republican family, and we settled many of our political arguments with compromise. My father always said that you know we’ve hit a real compromise when nobody is happy. Democrats and Republicans need to find that spot.

However, I will not compromise on Medicare and Social Security benefits. The Congressional Budget Office says if we do nothing, spending on Medicare and Medicaid will rise to 10 percent of the economy by 2037.

We cannot ignore this. But I also know that the median income of a Medicare beneficiary is $22,000 a year. I want to see us control costs and hold down spending increases, but I will not support forcing seniors and people with disabilities to dig into their wallets to make up for bad policies, lobbyists’ influence on Congress and our tax code, for “subsidies for the rich and famous,” as conservative U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn titled his booklet; and for waste, fraud and mismanagement across the spectrum. I simply will not break a social, economic, and moral contract with working men and women in America, and here is why.

...My parents spent their savings through my father’s difficult 15-year medical journey after his retirement. When he retired at 65, he never took anything but a vitamin. By the time he died, right after turning 80, he had experienced a heart attack and bypass, cancer of the esophagus, prostate cancer, bone cancer, and several years of blindness. Social Security and Medicare were there for him. And then my mother became will with lung problems, requiring expensive medications and repeat hospitalizations. My siblings and I had the privilege of caring for our parents, who had cared for us, but we could not have gotten by without Medicare and Social Security for our mom and dad.

Maybe some of these people who want to cut Medicare and Social Security don’t need it. Maybe their parents didn’t need it either. Maybe their children won’t need it. Maybe they don’t know the personal stories of those who rely on these programs. Maybe they don’t realize that these programs were born because there was a great need for them.

Maybe they think that young people today will stay healthy and employed and their investments will work out, and they will be able to get by with reduced benefits. But maybe they shouldn’t bet on it. I won’t.

I will not vote to reduce Medicare and Social Security. You can bet on that.

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