House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) have taken swift retribution against House members who dared to break ranks with “the team” on a rule vote for Trade Promotion Authority (Fast Track). On Monday, June 15, Scalise booted GOP Reps. Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), Steve Pearce (N.M.) and Trent Franks (Ariz.) — all members of the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) — from the whip team.
Reps. Lummis and Franks both issued conciliatory statements saying they completely “respect” Chairman Scalise’s decision — perhaps to avoid further retribution. Rep. Pearce was less tilted toward appeasement. “Not much has changed in the House. I came here to represent the people of the Second Congressional District of New Mexico. That means considering each vote on its merits and striving to do the right thing for them,” Pearce said in a statement. “Sometimes that demands casting hard votes, as I did last week. I always strive to vote on principle and that won’t change.”
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told Congressional Quarterly Roll Call that it was “unfortunate” HFC members were getting booted from the whip team. “I think it’s wrong,” he said.
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) is another HFC member who was among the 34 House Republicans voting against the TPA rule. He sees the Boehner-Scalise revenge going deeper and attacking their donor base. “Because voting against the rule is almost like a capital crime here, and we know what’s going to happen to us,” Labrador told Congressional Quarterly Roll Call. “We know that the leadership is going to come against us, we know that they’re already telling our donors not to give money to us, which, by the way, I think is unethical. We know exactly what they’re doing.”
Written by William F. Jasper
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