Retribution for Buck? No. Frustration? Yes.
Freshman class president Ken Buck will keep his mostly ceremonial position, after members of the freshmen class met Thursday morning to air their grievances.
Following a string of punishments for members who voted against a rule to bring trade legislation to the floor, it looked as if Buck — one of the 34 Republicans who voted “no” on the procedural motion — could be the next House Freedom Caucus member facing retribution. The meeting Thursday morning was painted as a coup to do just that. But, after a what multiple members described as a “family conversation,” Buck is staying put.
“We had a very good conversation, and I think we’re more united than ever,” Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., told reporters as he exited the meeting.
“We resolved many of our differences, and everyone had an opinion to share what they like, what they don’t like, their frustrations, their joys, and I don’t foresee that we’ll have a problem moving forward,” Curbelo said.
Asked how much of this meeting was about the TPA rule vote, Curbelo said he thought “that might have been a small part of it, but the conversation was much larger than that.”
Members discussed a lack of meetings with the freshman class, that they hadn’t gotten to know each other enough, and a lack of communication. Buck seems to have got the message.
But earlier this week, the Colorado Republican was blaming his vote on the rule and his ties to the HFC for his troubles with the freshman class.
Buck described to reporters a confrontation with a fellow freshman representative.
According to Buck, a member came up to him and told him they had the votes to remove him and he should step down. He refused. Soon after, the chief of staff for Rep. Mimi Walters sent out a notice for a meeting on Thursday morning.
“Mimi Walters is the freshmen representative to leadership and she’s decided to take this action,” Buck told reporters Wednesday. “Given the circumstances of a number of members being kicked off the whip team, and a member being removed from a subcommittee chair position, it is clear that leadership has decided there’s going to be retaliation.”
But Walters told CQ Roll Call Wednesday night that she simply wanted to have a conversation “to discuss our leadership in our class, and there’s no pre-set agenda.”
The California Republican said members had brought concerns to her over a lack of meetings and leadership from Buck. “And we have members that want to air their concerns in a class meeting,” she said.
She disputed that this had anything to do about the TPA rule vote, and simply said it was time for the freshman class to meet. “We want to talk,” she said.
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