WASHINGTON, D.C., December 6, 2012, (Family Research Council)—After two tension-filled years between Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his party’s conservative core, GOP leaders have apparently decided that some members rocked the Republican boat a little too much.
Last week, pro-family stalwarts like Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) were denied important chairmanships, despite meeting the GOP’s demand for raising party dollars. On Monday, the onslaught continued as the Republican Steering Committee voted to strip the most conservative members of their high-profile committee seats.
Unfortunately for Congress, the victims were among the most well-rounded conservatives in the House: champions like Reps. David Schweikert (Ariz.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Justin Amash (Mich.), and Tim Huelskamp (Kans.).
For members like Huelskamp, who have consistently held the line on taxes and spending, the penalty was particularly severe. Not only did he lose his spot on the House Budget Committee, but the GOP robbed him of his post on Agriculture, a purely punitive decision given Huelskamp’s farm-filled Kansas district.
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Like the other targets, Huelskamp is being marginalized for choosing voters over the party line. By taking members like Huelskamp to the woodshed, the Steering Committee is also showing other conservatives what’s in store if they buck leadership.
“It’s pretty disappointing,” he told reporters. Republican leadership “might think they have silenced conservatives,” said Huelskamp, “but removing me and others from key committees only confirms our convictions.”
Ironically, these members were only doing what Americans asked of them: holding the line on conservative principles—the same principles that led to the wave of GOP success in 2010.
It’s not only in America’s best interest, but the leadership’s, to have conservatives in the highest positions—men and women who are unapologetically strong on all three legs of the Republican stool: economic, social, and defense issues.
The problem GOP leaders face is that Washington is no longer the closed city it once was, where special interests and the liberal media reign supreme.
Yes, the left-wing press and high-dollar lobbyists still wield significant influence, but these ousted members (and others) are mostly the product of grassroots, tea party-infused, pro-family conservatives who remain the Republican Party’s only hope for a governing majority. The number of disaffected conservatives in Congress is growing at almost the same rate as those outside the Capitol. And as those two factors merge, it will spell serious challenges for the GOP establishment and their leaders.
Reprinted from Family Research Council.