The fissure between the GOP establishment and Tea Party members in Congress blew wide open Monday evening when conservative members of Congress were suddenly removed from House financial committees.
RedState’s Erick Erickson was the first reliable source to share that conservatives were reportedly being removed from the House’s finance related committees by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio).
“This morning Congressman Schweikert learned there was a price to be paid for voting based on principle. That price was the removal from the House Financial Services Committee,” Rachel Semmel, Schweikert’s spokesman, told POLITICO. “We are obviously disappointed that Leadership chose to take this course, but Rep. Schweikert remains committed to fighting for the conservative principles that brought him here.”
Curiously, conservative Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina was selected to replace Schwikert on the committee, potentially undercutting conservative’s complaints that Schweikert was removed for political reasons. Likewise, sources with knowledge of the situation indicated to both POLITICO and Roll Call that committee changes were made at the request of committee chairs. Meaning incoming Financial Services Committee chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, who is currently the GOP Conference chair, not Boehner, could be responsible for snubbing Schweikert.
Roll Call later added that Walter Jones of North Carolina had also been removed from that committee. Additionally, Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan and Tim Huelkamp of Kansas were removed from the House Budget Committee, which Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is currently chair and will continue to chair in the next Congress.
A press release issued by Huelskamp’s spokeswoman Karen Steward says that the freshman Rep. “was given limited explanation for his removal but clearly his consistent, principled, and conservative votes have riled the GOP Establishment.”
“It is little wonder why Congress has a 16 percent approval rating: Americans send principled representatives to change Washington and get punished in return,” Huelskamp said in a statement. “The GOP leadership might think they have silenced conservatives, but removing me and others from key committees only confirms our conservative convictions. This is clearly a vindictive move, and a sure sign that the GOP Establishment cannot handle disagreement.”
After news broke conservatives, were immediately outraged. Tea Party organization FreedomWorks even called for a ‘hostile takeover’ of the party by Tea Party activists, and began a lobbying effort to get Schweikert, Huelskamp and Amash back on their respective committee.
The split between Republican Party leadership and the Tea Party was a longtime coming and is not particularly shocking. However, by removing Amash, a young, up and coming libertarian who is often cited as retiring Rep. Ron Paul’s successor as the leader of the ever growing liberty movement within, and outside of, the Republican Party, the GOP establishment may have stirred the hornets nest one too many times today.
Note: This post has been updated to include additional information.