A simmering feud between Manhattan’s soon-to-be Congressional representative and the Speaker of the House went public Monday night with the representative’s ouster from one of the House’s most powerful committees.
First District Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who will represent Riley and Pottawatomie counties when the new Congress convenes in January, was booted from the House Budget Committee by Speaker John Boehner. Sources, including Huelskamp himself, characterized his ouster as driven by Huelskamp’s hard-line conservative positions.
“Americans send principled representatives to change Washington and get punished in return,” Huelskamp said in a statement released late Monday night. He said Boehner’s decision, which he characterized as designed to silence dissenting voices, would not achieve that purpose. “Removing me and others from key committees only confirms our conservative convictions,” Huelskamp said “This is clearly a vindictive move, and a sure sign that the GOP Establishment cannot handle disagreement.”
Huelskamp’s removal, along with two other conservative Republicans, was revealed Monday on Andrew Breitbart’s website, and soon confirmed by Huelskamp himself. Boehner Spokesman Kevin Smith said the moves were made by the House leadership steering committee, which he said identified “a range of factors.”
Also affected were Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash, who also lost a Budget Committee seat, and Arizona Republican Rep. David Schweikert, who was removed from the Financial Services Committee.
There was no immediate indication whether Huelskamp would receive a new committee assignment. He also serves on the Agriculture Committee as well as the Committee on Veterans Affairs.
There were published reports that Huelskamp would lose his Ag Committee seat as well, but Huelskamp’s office had not addressed that report Tuesday morning.
The announcement of Huelskamp’s removal from the Budget Committee came a few hours after Huelskamp reaffirmed his support for the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) anti-tax pledge, an announcement that came as Boehner was releasing his latest compromise proposal to solve the nation’s fiscal problems.
Huelskamp also encouraged colleagues in the House to come out publicly against potential tax increases.
He acknowledged having irked party leadership by his unwillingness to bend from hard-line conservative positions on such issues as cuts to food stamp programs and opposing debt limit increases. He said he had also refused leadership requests to withdraw pro-marriage and pro-life amendments.
“Kansans who sent me to Washington did so to change the way things are done – not to provide cover for Establishment Republicans who only give lip service to conservative principles,” Huelskamp said. “If the rest of America is anything like the 700,000 Kansans I represent, then they know that the fiscal and cultural crises facing our nation require drastic changes to the way things are done in Washington — not just symbolic gestures or more of the same.”