Fed up with the most conservative faction of its party "throwing a wrench" in its agenda, the House GOP leadership is laying down the law and taking a heavy hand with dissenters, Politico
The 30 or so tea party members who attempt to foil the party’s agenda by opposing leadership with nay votes on procedural motions, known as rules, will receive harsh and swift punishment, according to the website.
"When we are entrusted by our team with a position of responsibility, we have an obligation to live up to those responsibilities," House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday while addressing the Republican Conference. "We are in the majority. Part of being in the majority is advancing an agenda — a conservative agenda. You may not agree with every part of the agenda, and when you don’t, you can vote your conscience.
"But voting against rules is not a vote of conscience; it is a vote to hand the House floor over to Nancy Pelosi."
Example: Florida Rep. Richard Nugent stopped receiving financial support from corporate PACs and was barred from congressional trips to Iraq and Guantanamo Bay after he supported fellow Sunshine State Rep. Daniel Webster in his bid to oust Boehner as speaker, according to Politico. Both men were both booted from the Rules Committee.
Members of Boehner’s leadership team told The Hill
that "they’re not urging Republicans to vote against their conscience, as some conservatives argue; they simply want votes to bring legislation to the floor for a debate. When Republicans vote against rules to bring legislation to the floor, it dilutes the power of the majority and gives Democrats leverage that they lack in their numbers."
The vast majority — some 200 members of the caucus — favor consequences for those who dissent from the majority in the form of "stripping the rebels of gavels, denying them travel, halting campaign cash and blocking their bills from the floor," according to The Hill.
"The fact is we’ve got more than 200 rank-and-file members who are royally ----- off at those guys for voting to turn the House floor over to Nancy Pelosi," a senior GOP leadership aide told the website. "There’s plenty of anger to go around, but the large majority of it is from members who believe much more punishment should be doled out."
While Boehner "has shied from widespread crackdowns" during his tenure, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise have issued direct warnings about dealing with party heretics.
"McCarthy has privately told committee chairmen they need to ensure their senior members are voting with the party," according to Politico, and Scalise "has privately encouraged stiffer punishment for wayward Republicans. He kicked a few Republicans off of his vote-counting team after they bucked leaders on procedural votes."
Members who vote against procedural motions, considered "tests of party unity," are viewed as publicly rejecting leadership, The Hill says.
"When you’re elected to serve in the majority, it’s a great honor and privilege," Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent, a centrist, told The Hill. "And with that honor comes a governing responsibility. And by taking down rules and empowering, in this case Nancy Pelosi, you’re really undermining the majority.
"Look, if you vote against the rule, you know you’ve got to get off the whip team. It’s that simple. Nobody should be surprised or upset about that."
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