Tags: Walter Jones | boehner | mark meadows | speaker | oust

Rep. Jones: 'We're Not Here to Be Puppets of the Speaker'

Rep. Jones: 'We're Not Here to Be Puppets of the Speaker'
Rep. Walter Jones, right, with House Speaker John Boehner in 2011. (AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 29 July 2015 01:56 PM

Representatives are sent to Washington to represent their constituents, not vote at the whim of the House speaker, Rep. Walter Jones said Wednesday, making a stand in favor of a fellow lawmaker's long-shot maneuver to remove Speaker John Boehner from his post.

"Too many times he has used [his] position to intimidate and coerce," the North Carolina Republican told CNN. "We're not here to be puppets of the speaker of the House; we're here to represent our districts."

Story continues below video.

On Tuesday, GOP Rep. Mark Meadows, also of North Carolina, filed a procedural move seeking to vacate the speaker's seat. According to CNN, such a measure hasn't been tried since William Taft was president in 1910.

The measure is considered a long shot, as the Rules Committee, which is controlled by Boehner, needs to approve the move. 

But it is the latest in a show of frustration with Boehner among conservative Republicans, who have made challenges to his leadership before. The attempt comes after Meadows was removed from a subcommittee chairmanship in June after siding against Boehner and other House leaders on a procedural trade vote.

A spokesman for Boehner said Wednesday that the speaker will likely address the issue publicly during an afternoon press conference, but he hadn't made a statement earlier in the day.

In June, Boehner, who represents Ohio, told reporters that he supported the committee chairman's decision to remove Meadows from his subcommittee seat, saying that "when it comes to procedural votes in the House, the majority has to stick together."

Jones, who has called for Boehner's removal in the past, told CNN on Wednesday that Boehner had actually removed three people who voted against the rule to bring the trade legislation to the floor from the positions they had in the whip organization.

"I don't think anyone should be intimidated because they vote their conscience," said Jones. "If you can't vote your conscience, then you don't need to be here for the people back home. If you're supposed to be here to vote the will of the speaker and not the will of the people, then you don't need to be here."

Further, Jones alleged that Boehner uses "too much force to intimidate" lawmakers, and "this is wrong."

But not all of Meadows' fellow North Carolina lawmakers are backing him.

GOP Rep. Richard Hudson said he believes Meadows is timing his move for August, "where this is the main topic" during lawmakers' summer break in their home districts, and that the move is threatening to take away attention from President Barack Obama and the nuclear deal with Iraq.

According to Politico, Republican leaders were taken by surprise by Meadows' move, as he had not asked to meet Boehner or others to voice his complaints.

Jones said Wednesday that he's "sorry that they were caught by surprise," as he has "known this for three weeks."

"In a situation like this, you don't know who you can trust and not trust, and when you've got a problem like we have with the speaker of the House being so coercive, than we need to do what is necessary for the good of the people and the good of this country," Jones told CNN.

Jones continued that even though Republicans are in control of both houses of Congress, "too many times the policy decisions here in Washington, and this could be both parties, are made by the influence of money."

"The policies should be made by the influence of the people and their representatives, not money people, but those of us who represent the people," said Jones.

Several of Boehner's allies are downplaying Meadows' move, including California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, who told CNN he thinks Meadows' move "is a fundraising tool" being used in hopes of helping the North Carolina lawmaker's re-election bid.

Another Republican lawmaker, who asked CNN not to identify him while he was discussing private conversations, said many of his GOP colleagues on the floor were immediately irritated by Meadows' surprise move.

"We were all really angry, frustrated and saying, 'Why now?' We need to focus on the Iran deal," he said. "This is the best thing that could happen to President Obama. He just took the focus off Iran."

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Representatives are sent to Washington to represent their constituents, not vote at the whim of the House speaker, Rep. Walter Jones said Wednesday, making a stand in favor of a fellow lawmaker's long-shot maneuver to remove Speaker John Boehner from his post.
Walter Jones, boehner, mark meadows, speaker, oust
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2015-56-29
Wednesday, 29 July 2015 01:56 PM
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