Huelskamp said his constituents are angry he was removed from two committees.
A: Well, he has driven through the district. I donít believe heís ever stopped in the district. Heís done fundraising in Kansas and thatís 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 Iím 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 thatís a pretty poor track record to suggest, hey, trust me; Iím going to go in and negotiate one-on-one with the president.
And, you know, Iím a big believer in transparency. Tell us what happened behind closed doors, why you kick people off the committee. But also tell us what youíre negotiating with the president.
Q: How are you going to keep the channels of communication open, especially now that you donít have these two integral posts?
A: Well, nothing is permanent in politics. But itís 2012. This is not 1995, when nobody knew what was going on in Washington. Since then weíve got Fox News. Weíve got Twitter. Weíve 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 Iíd been kicked off [the committees]. Is it related? Is it connected?
Clearly, there are members of leadership ó Tom Cole from Oklahoma has been running around, saying, ĎHey, we should raise taxes now and might as well just get íer done.í But the Republican base, conservatives and myself especially, are saying weíre 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 thereís some implosion among the conservative wing of the Republican Party.
A: Itís reminded conservatives that hitching to the Republican wagon doesnít always work. You Republicans, you claim you want to reduce spending and shrink government. But you donít do that in your budgets. And you know, you claim youíre for family values, but you wonít say a word about marriage and you hide behind the issue of life and donít say anything about that as well. I mean, thatís pretty obvious the last couple of weeks.
So I think conservatives are starting to realize, again. Wait a minute. Republicans, theyíre sometimes just to the left of the Democrats, and thatís not good enough.
Q: Are you going to try to get your spot back on the Ag Committee?
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.