GOP lawmakers squabbling after Boehner punishes some for challenging leadership
John Boehner moved quickly to punish fellow Republicans who voted against his re-election for House Speaker.
The Ohio Republican kicked Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL), who voted for himself for speaker, and Rep. Rich Nugent (R-FL), who voted for Webster, off the influential Rules Committee and stopped Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) from sponsoring a bill.
Webster and Nugent had served in the last Congress on the Rules Committee – which controls how legislation is considered on the floor — and were set to be reappointed until they took part in the challenge to Boehner’s leadership, Bloomberg reported.
Members of the Rules Committee are appointed directly by the Speaker.
“Sometimes there are casualties and changes, and people make decisions,” said Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX). “They make decisions to do things knowing sometimes there can be consequences.”
Weber said he was punished for backing Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) for House Speaker during an attempt to unseat Boehner that was pushed by conservative media outlets.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) said he lost a subcommittee chairmanship because of his vote for Webster.
Boehner was re-elected with 216 votes, while Webster led the Republican insurgent candidates with 12 votes. Gohmert managed three votes, while several other GOP lawmakers got one or two each.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) pulled in 164 votes.
The challenge to Boehner’s leadership – and the apparent retribution – has set some Republicans against each other as they take control of both houses of the U.S. Congress.
“It appears before we can work together, we are now going to have another fight,” Gohmert said. “It would be a shame if the Speaker of the House who has so much power is a sore winner.”
Some lawmakers have suggested they may reverse any punitive actions by Boehner, but the Speaker’s allies have indicated that more retaliation could be coming.
Besides, one aide told Politico, the Republican majority is less reliant on its most staunchly conservative members to pass legislation.
“We don’t need these fringe guys as much as we did anymore,” the aide said. “We can let them walk on certain bills, and it just won’t matter. That gives us breathing room.”
Watch this video report posted online by The Hill: