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Three conservative House deficit hawks were stripped of their committee seats Monday for not being “team players” — a power move by House Republican John Boehner as he tries to quell dissension among rank-and-file members. NBC News reports that the House Republican Steering Committee has purged Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI) and Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) from their seats on the House Budget Committee, and Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) from the Financial Services Committee.
The ousted congressmen are all far right-wing deficit hawks, and have each butted heads with the Republican Establishment over government spending and the federal deficit. All three members were part of a small group of Republicans who voted against House Budget Chair Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, which they said did not go far enough to bring down the national debt.
The purge sends a clear warning from Boehner that the Republican leadership will not tolerate inter-GOP squabbling as the budget negotiations heat up over the fiscal cliff — but there are signs that the iron-fist approach may backfire. Conservative groups, already displeased by the GOP’s initial fiscal cliff counter-offer, slammed Boehner for the move Tuesday.
“Congressmen Schweikert, Huelskamp, and Amash are now free of the last remnants of establishment leverage against them. We expect that these three defenders of economic freedom will become even bolder in their efforts to defend the taxpayers against the big spenders in both parties…The dirty little secret in Congress is that while refusing to kowtow to the wishes of party leaders can sometimes cost you some perks in Washington, the taxpayers back home are grateful. Schweikert, Huelskamp, and Amash are following in the honorable footsteps of Jeff Flake, Pat Toomey, Tom Coburn, and Jim DeMint, all of whom consistently championed limited-government principles in the House – often in the face of pressure from party leaders – and are now doing so in the Senate. Schweikert, Huelskamp, and Amash have bright futures in the Republican Party, and the Club for Growth PAC looks forward to supporting them, just as we did Flake, Toomey, Coburn, and DeMint.”