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Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas learned last week that he and three other Republicans were stripped of key committees assignments by the House Steering Committee, which is under the control of Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio.
Huelskamp was removed from the Budget and Agriculture committees. Reps. David Schweikert of Arizona and Walter B. Jones of North Carolina were booted from the Financial Services Committee. And Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan also lost his seat on the Budget Committee.
Apart from Jones, all were rebellious right-wingers. Huelskamp and Amash voted against the budget proposed by Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin in committee and on the floor, saying it did not cut spending fast enough. They also voted against the continuing resolution that is funding the government through the end of March.
Huelskamp was interviewed by telephone Wednesday by CQ Roll Call reporters Shira Toeplitz and Janie Lorber on the Sirius-XM radio show “Showdown 2012,” on the POTUS Politics channel. This transcript of their conversation has been edited and condensed.
Q: Your district is western Kansas, a very rural area.
A: Very rural and it’s about two-thirds of the state of Kansas. Probably the best-known town is Dodge City. Everything’s small-town, a pretty conservative red state, and Republican. So in our district we test the base of the Republican Party.
Q: This seat became open when Jerry Moran ran for Senate against another member of Congress in 2010, Todd Tiahrt. Moran won, and now he’s heading up the Senate Republican campaign arm. So quite the tradition in your district.
A: Well, a long tradition. Sen. Moran, Sen. [Pat] Roberts, both of them currently serving in the Senate. And then Sen. [Bob] Dole. It goes back for quite a few years.
Q: It’s been a crazy week for you on Capitol Hill.
A: It sure has. And actually pretty disappointing to my constituents in the last week and a half. I actually had a pretty rambunctious town hall with folks last night and they’re not happy with Washington. Up to 20,000 people were on and off the telephone town hall last night, and they had plenty to say.
Q: What made your constituents so angry?
A: About a week and a half ago, I received a phone call from a member of the Republican Steering Committee and they informed me, this individual says, ‘Hey, just want to let you know you’ve been kicked off of two committees.’ I was quite surprised. No one had approached me at all about that in advance, not a member of leadership, not any of the two chairmen in question.