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Huelskamp Sounds Off on Losing Committee Spots

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Huelskamp said his constituents are angry he was removed from two committees.

A: Well, he has driven through the district. I dont believe hes ever stopped in the district. Hes done fundraising in Kansas and thats fine, I guess. But I did poll my constituents that were on telephone town hall. A non-scientific poll, but it was resounding. Folks were furious at the speaker. I asked, who believes I should vote for John Boehner as speaker again? It was 12 percent.

Q: Do you think this is about the presidential race?

A: The numbers Im going to remember for 2012 as a Republican are 8, 2 and 1. And we lost eight House seats, lost two Senate seats and lost the presidency. And thats a pretty poor track record to suggest, hey, trust me; Im going to go in and negotiate one-on-one with the president.

And, you know, Im a big believer in transparency. Tell us what happened behind closed doors, why you kick people off the committee. But also tell us what youre negotiating with the president.

Q: How are you going to keep the channels of communication open, especially now that you dont have these two integral posts?

A: Well, nothing is permanent in politics. But its 2012. This is not 1995, when nobody knew what was going on in Washington. Since then weve got Fox News. Weve got Twitter. Weve got Facebook. I can post all that and people can respond.

One thing I think led to this: I actually posted a video, an innocent video, I thought, as a Republican member of the U.S. House, where I reaffirmed my pledge not to raise taxes. In less than one business day later I received the call, said Id been kicked off [the committees]. Is it related? Is it connected?

Clearly, there are members of leadership Tom Cole from Oklahoma has been running around, saying, Hey, we should raise taxes now and might as well just get er done. But the Republican base, conservatives and myself especially, are saying were not going to go there.

And so I reaffirmed the pledge and I think I got punished, perhaps as a result of that.

Q: Scorecard or no scorecard, your power has diminished greatly. This suggests that theres some implosion among the conservative wing of the Republican Party.

A: Its reminded conservatives that hitching to the Republican wagon doesnt always work. You Republicans, you claim you want to reduce spending and shrink government. But you dont do that in your budgets. And you know, you claim youre for family values, but you wont say a word about marriage and you hide behind the issue of life and dont say anything about that as well. I mean, thats pretty obvious the last couple of weeks.

So I think conservatives are starting to realize, again. Wait a minute. Republicans, theyre sometimes just to the left of the Democrats, and thats not good enough.

Q: Are you going to try to get your spot back on the Ag Committee?

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