One of the most powerful House chairmen voted against the tax bill -- and the backlash is already beginning

  • House Appropriations Committee chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen voted against the tax reform bill on Tuesday, angering Republican leaders.
  • Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker immediately called for him to lose his position as chairman for not complying with the “will of the conference.”

WASHINGTON – The chairman of the Republican Study Committee, North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker, said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen should step down as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee for voting against the final version of the GOP tax reform plan that passed Tuesday afternoon.

“We kind of laid this out pretty clear in recent weeks that a chairman should be supportive of the will of the conference,” Walker told reporters. “By him not doing so I think is gonna be a problem.”

“I think if you can’t support the will of the conference, you should step down,” Walker added while stressing that it is not yet the official policy of the RSC, a major group of Republican voters in the House.

Walker said the next step is likely a meeting about Frelinghuysen’s fate.

“But I do believe that from leadership to the Republican Study Committee, it’s very problematic when one of, maybe the major pieces of legislation obviously we get passed this year, that you have been a naysayer from day one,” he said.

The changing of committee leadership is a choice left for the steering committee, which will decide Frelinghuysen’s future.

As for the Republican leadership, Walker said, “I would hope they come to us and begin to talk about solutions from here and what kind of energy there would be to ask him to say, ‘Listen, if you can’t fulfil this role that you accepted, then maybe we need to look a different direction.'”

A spokesperson for Frelinghuysen relayed his response in an email, writing, “These should help” with two attached graphs of discretionary funding over the past seven years. The Republican tax bill would add $US1 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade, according to an analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Frelinghuysen joined 12 other Republicans, all of whom were from New Jersey, New York, or California, to vote against the final draft of the tax bill before it heads to the Senate. The lawmakers took issue with certain provisions they say would hurt their constituents in high-taxed states.

Disagreeing with Walker’s position that Frelinghuysen should relinquish his chairmanship was Virginia Rep. Dave Brat.

“You should vote for your constituents and I don’t like that kind of logic,” Brat said. “You represent your constituents. We cobbled together the votes to get a yes vote. But I don’t like – that’s the swamp. Bernie ran against the swamp. Trump ran against the swamp. I ran against the swamp. What’s the swamp? Where you get a gavel and you get money in order to vote a certain way. That’s illegal if I do it.”

“At a fundamental level, you’re gonna strip people of their power, prestige, money, whatever over a vote? That’s not the American way,” Brat added.

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