The Purge of House Conservatives Continues
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.
Earlier today, we provided a list of those who made it onto the Super A committees. Well, Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) is a conservative freshman member who was actually kicked off the Financial Services Committee. Members are rarely kicked off committees unless there is a scandal.
David Schweikert is 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.
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. [Correction: It looks like Hudson was not placed on the Financial Services Committee once he got a spot on the Steering Committee. Instead he was appointed to the Agriculture Committee at the same time Tim Huelskamp, an Ag policy expert, was thrown off the committee.]
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. Maybe it’s because of statements like this.
Update: Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) was also tossed off the Budget Committee.
Update II: The Club for Growth illuminates an ancillary benefit from this purge: “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,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola in a press release.
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.