Huelskamp lost his spot on the Budget Committee Monday in what many said was a move by leadership to scare members into line.
“There’s no earmarks, the speaker doesn’t punish people. It’s a different philosophy. So it’s harder where you have to grab something ahead of time and work it through the process,” McCarthy told CQ Roll Call in March.
“This is a move that the whip team has been advocating for some time. They are using all of the tools at their disposal,” a GOP strategist said of the purge.
A spreadsheet of how members had voted on key bills that the Steering Committee reviewed in its deliberations was prepared by McCarthy’s office at the Steering Committee’s request.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the incoming chairman of the Financial Services panel, actually fought to keep Schweikert on his committee, several Republican sources said.
There were other signs that the relevant chairmen did not play a crucial role. Huelskamp, who was also removed from the Agriculture Committee, said he had been in discussions with that panel’s chairman, Frank D. Lucas, about subcommittee assignments.
While the Steering Committee’s decisions took the four lawmakers from coveted committees, being pegged a rebel can offer its own perks.
“My guess is my constituents are going to be mad as a hornet about it. And they’re not gonna punish me. They’re gonna say, ‘We’ve had enough of Washington,’” Huelskamp said. “It’s not like the House of 20 years ago where the speaker can tell you, ‘Sit down and shut up’ and you only had three outlets to counter that. There’s all kinds of things out there.”
Schweikert said he heard “rumblings on Friday” and has leveraged the decision into publicity, appearing on Mike Huckabee’s radio show Tuesday to discuss the fiscal cliff. And Amash and Huelskamp appeared jointly at a Heritage Foundation event, where they decried the leadership decision.
“You still just work your heart out. You don’t all the sudden become a squish,” Schweikert said about his plans. “I’m bemused. Come on, this isn’t how you bring together a conference that’s going into the 113th Congress with fewer members in its majority.”