Speaker John Boehner has been accused by Rep. Steve King of conducting "intimidation tactics" after 25 Republicans voted against him remaining as House leader.
Boehner said on Wednesday that he’s planning a "family conversation" with his conference to help heal the growing rift in the GOP — even as he was attacked for booting off two defectors from the Rules Committee in what conservatives view as an act of retribution, The Hill
Florida Rep. Daniel Webster, who challenged Boehner for speaker, and Florida Rep. Rich Nugent, who voted for Webster, were kicked off the committee before it convened for the first time in the new session. Their name plates were removed from the dais and their chairs were left empty.
King, an Iowa Republican who backed Webster for speaker, has now accused Boehner on Twitter of employing scare tactics to intimidate
"Boehner kicked Webster and Nugent off Rules Committee 4 voting against Boehner. No room for intimidation tactics. I stand with them," King tweeted.
After a closed-door GOP meeting, Boehner told reporters that no final decision had been made about whether the two lawmakers would be permanently kept off the committee, according to The Hill.
"We had a situation yesterday where we had to constitute the Rules Committee because of some of the activities on the floor," the speaker said. "Two of our members weren't put back on the committee immediately."
He continued, "We're going to have a family conversation … about bringing our team together. And I expect those conversations for the next couple of days will continue and we'll come to a decision about how we go forward."
Florida Rep. Ted Yoho, who also voted against Boehner, said on Fox News' "Hannity" on Tuesday night that Webster and Nugent's ouster is the sort of thing that would occur in a "communist country."
"They voted the way their districts wanted to," Yoho said. "And to be held in jeopardy for that or retribution is wrong, because that would be something you would expect in China, Cuba, Russia or in a communist country to, when you have a voice of dissension, you'd be punished."
Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp said that after announcing that he planned to vote against Boehner, he was told he would not be handed the chairmanship of a subcommittee. But his allegations have since been denied by House leadership aides, The Hill said.
The core group of conservatives who voted to dump Boehner was more than twice the dozen who withheld their support from him in an election two years ago, in an indication of stark party divisions that could make it hard to pass legislation.
They had campaigned against Boehner in recent weeks, arguing he had done too little to cut spending and fight President Barack Obama's immigration and healthcare policies.
But Boehner is hoping to soothe things over with the conservative faction in the near future, and told reporters that he planned to meet with some members who voted against him.
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