Is it revenge of the squishy Republicans? It sure isn't the reaffirmation of conservatism within the Republican Party. On December 4, Matthew Boyle at Breitbart reported that the House GOP had begun purging conservatives from various committees. In a time when Republicans need strong, principled conservatives to thwart the aggressive expansion of the state under Obama, Speaker Boehner and company inanely decide that they're the problem. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Squishy Republicans are part of the problem. President and CEO of FreedomWorks Matt Kibbe aptly said at BlogCon Charlotte last spring that sometimes "you need to beat the Republicans before you can beat the Democrats."
Kibbe made the same statement at a Young Republican event in Franklin County, PA in February of 2012. It's a saying that's starting to become axiomatic, especially as these debt negotiations continue to have a repetitious character of a bad deal being countered by a delusional one. The first salvo was fired at Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) on December 3 when "Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other top Republicans were huddled in a Steering Committee meeting... that panel, which is controlled in large part by Boehner, decides who sits on the various House committees," according to John Bresnahan Jake Sherman of Politico.
Sherman and Bresnahan added that " Schweikert — who was en route from Arizona to Capitol Hill on Monday — will now serve on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) will replace Schweikert on the Financial Services Committee. Michael Steel, a Boehner spokesman, said a member’s voting record isn’t the sole determinant of his or her committee assignments. 'The Steering Committee makes decisions based on a range of factors,' Steel said" – or ones grounded in a purge list. Boyle wrote that:
in remarks to the Heritage Foundation’s Bloggers Briefing on Tuesday [Dec. 4], Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp confirmed the existence of such a list. “We’ve heard from multiple sources that someone walked in with a list of votes and said if you didn’t reach a particular scorecard of what was considered the right vote – which by the way, in most cases, was not the conservative position – then [they said] ‘we’re going to have to remove you from the committee,’” Huelskamp said.
“All that took place behind closed doors, which is again a problem with Washington, D.C. – whether it’s the budget negotiations, whether it’s everything else, it’s usually done behind closed doors," he explained. "I think, as conservatives, this is where we can win: We’ve got to be willing and able to talk about things in public instead of being afraid of actual public scrutiny.”
Huelskamp later told Breitbart News he thinks House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Whip Kevin McCarthy owe it to the American people to be transparent about this decision making process – and that they should publicly release the list.
Breitbart's Boyle noted that the criteria within the list is unknown. And the name of the person who initiated the purge is unknown. FreedomWorks has been urging conservatives to demand answers from Speaker Boehner.
In the final days before the start of a new Congress, John Boehner and the Republican establishment is quietly purging crucial House committees of strong fiscal conservatives, including:
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (KS) - House Budget Committee (96% FreedomWorks Lifetime Rating)
Rep. Justin Amash (MI) – House Budget Committee (100% FreedomWorks Lifetime Rating)
Rep. David Schweikert (AZ) – House Financial Services (96% FreedomWorks Lifetime Rating)
These three principled legislators have stood with the Constitution even when it was unpopular to do so. Their dedication to the principles of lower taxes and limited government is now being punished by a Speaker who would rather concede to the big spenders in Congress instead of making the tough choices.
Call John Boehner and tell him to restore these genuine fiscal conservatives to their respective committees.
Call House Speaker John Boehner Now
Office Phone Number: (202) 225-0600
Amanda Terkel at Huffington Post wrote the conservative butcher's bill on December 4 listing:
Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) from the House Budget Commtitee. Reps. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) [who] lost their positions on the Financial Services Committee.
The four members are known for occasionally bucking leadership and voting against Boehner's wishes. Amash, Huelskamp and Schweikert are popular with the conservative movement, while Jones has made a name for himself by speaking out against U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.
Huelskamp and Amash were also the only GOP votes against Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget plan this year, arguing that it didn't cut spending enough. The Steering Committee recently recommended that Ryan stay on as Budget Committee chairman.
Luckily, the Senate is safe from Boehner's reach. At least principled conservatives, like Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), remain in a blocking position. Chris Moody of The Ticket, which reports on politics for Yahoo! News, wrote yesterday that Sen. DeMint "slammed House Republican leaders for the "fiscal cliff" proposal they offered earlier this week."
"Speaker [John] Boehner's $800 billion tax hike will destroy American jobs and allow politicians in Washington to spend even more, while not reducing our $16 trillion debt by a single penny," DeMint said in a statement. "This isn't rocket science. Everyone knows that when you take money out of the economy, it destroys jobs, and everyone knows that when you give politicians more money, they spend it. This is why Republicans must oppose tax increases and insist on real spending reductions that shrink the size of government and allow Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money."
I know I've said I'll stomach slight tax hikes for now, but it seems Democrats aren't going to budge on their end relating to families making more than $250,000 a year. In fact, Moody wrote "Democrats dismissed it quickly, calling for a bill that would increase taxes on households earning more than $250,000 per year and more federal spending on infrastructure, which were not included in the Republican plan."
While caving for tax hikes is one thing, purging conservatives in various House committees is another. It's simply irrational for Speaker Boehner to rid himself of the most vociferous defenders of freedom and limited government in Congress. Conservatives are the vanguards against the usurpatory nature of government, and the implementation of a hyper-regulatory progressive state. Does any rational person feel that a squishy Republican will exude the same amount of tenacity and steadfastness exhibited by a conservative? No, they'll cave, Democrats will gain ground, and the American taxpayer will pay for it.
Republicans can play with who is saddled with the tax hikes, and as I've said previously, a slight hike on anyone making over $1 million isn't insane. But the spending cuts that follow need to be deep and enacted immediately. Furthermore, most of those cuts need to be focused on curbing the welfare state. However, with the climate becoming more toxic and Republican moderates declaring war on the conservative wing of the party – I'm starting to lean towards being more intransigent towards tax hikes. If Democrats won't come halfway, then we shouldn't indulge them.
Nevertheless, Speaker Boehner seems to be making it all the more easier for Democrats to expand the size and scope of government. What are your doing up there, Speaker Boehner?