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Rep. Huelskamp: ‘Petty, Vindictive Politics’ Behind GOP Leadership Changes

By Todd Beamon and Kathleen Walter   |   Tuesday, 11 Dec 2012 06:59 PM

Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp declared in an exclusive Newsmax TV interview that “petty, vindictive politics” led House Speaker John Boehner and the Republican Steering Committee to boot him and three other congressmen from key leadership posts last week.

“I haven’t had any of the leaders of the GOP conference actually have the courage to sit down and say, ‘Hey, this is why we did this to you,’” Huelskamp, a first-term Republican backed by the Tea Party Patriots, tells Newsmax. “They sent out anonymous rumors and leaks by staff — and those are usually very unfounded and don’t match up to reality.”

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Huelskamp and two other tea party favorites were stripped of their House committee seats last week by Boehner and the GOP steering group. The others are David Schweikert of Arizona and Justin Amash of Michigan.
North Carolina GOP Rep. Walter Jones also lost his leadership position.

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The congressmen have charged that they were removed because they refused to tow the party line — even supporting Boehner’s counteroffer of $800 billion in revenue increases to reach a deal with President Barack Obama to avert the fiscal cliff scheduled to take effect at the end of the month.

Boehner told the tea party representatives in a letter that they would not be reinstated to their positions, Huelskamp said on Tuesday.

Besides the House Budget Committee, the Kansas Republican also lost his seat on the House Agriculture Committee.

“Someone from Kansas has been on the House Ag Committee for over 100 years — and this because of petty, vindictive politics, you pick a fifth-generation farmer off the Ag Committee. I’ve got a Ph.D., in ag-policy making as well. It’s a good fit.

“We’ve been very active and helpful to the committee, so it comes down to the typical stuff in Washington,” Huelskamp charged. “People are tired of pettiness and partisanship. They’re tired of folks that leave principles at the door: ‘We’ll tell you how to vote.’ I refuse to do that.”

Huelskamp said neither he nor the other three dismissed congressmen has received an “official” explanation from Boehner or the steering group.

“The speaker refuses to make any public comments, and the comments from the office are not attributed to anyone — just something in general from the office. I’m just frustrated. If the speaker has a problem with my vote, say it.”

And more changes are coming, Huelskamp said.

“Last week, the Speaker addressed the entire conference — and he did stand up and indicate that he was watching all of the votes of every member and said there may be more folks kicked off their committees,” he said. “So if you lose three or four votes, when you have 244 votes, there’s plenty of votes to spare for the Speaker, but they’re worried that other conservatives in the House are going to say we’ve had enough.

“It’s really a general attack on conservatives,” Huelskamp declared. “There are a lot of outside conservative groups that represent the base of the Republican Party — and they’ve been pretty upset by these votes, and they’ve been outraged when you disagree with the GOP establishment. I believe the GOP establishment blew this election.

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“Now is not the time to kick conservatives in the side. Now’s the time we ought to broaden the base by bringing more conservatives into the party and also bring Libertarians into the party as well.

“We’re finding out, though, that the current House is not very open to dissenting views,” he added. “But after decades and decades and decades of overspending by both parties, isn’t it about time we actually tried the conservative ideals that the Republican Party claims to stand for?”

Huelskamp has one message for Boehner: “We ask him just to come clean. Show us the scorecard. And they refuse to do so. There actually was a scorecard — and you’re going to hear things in and out of Washington. They play word games and those kinds of things.

“But, at the end of the day, I am not going to turn over my voting card to anybody — and neither should any other member. We’re all independently elected and, frankly, if Washington actually listened to the people back home, we’d see a lot of different outcomes here.

“But, as we near the end of the year, I’m afraid that a massive tax increase is going to be approved by Republicans in the House if we continue down this path that seems to be set by our leadership.”

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