UPDATE: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Kansas is losing some political power on a very important congressional committee. First District Congressman Tim Huelskamp has been booted from both the House Agricultural and Budget Committees.
One day after being yanked from those committees, Huelskamp is bashing Republican leaders, saying he’s being punished.
"As has often been said, no good deed goes unpunished," said Huelskamp, of Fowler, Kan., responding to his committee bootings at a weekly bloggers briefing at the Heritage Foundation. "But it confirms in my mind the deepest suspicions of most Americans about Washington, D.C. that it's petty; It's vindictive. And if you have any conservative principles for articulating those."
Huelskamp said when he came in as a freshman two years ago, House leaders, like Speaker John Boehner, told him he could vote his conscience and vote his district. Huelskamp said that’s not the case.
"It's not about principles,” he said. It's about blind obedience."
So, for the first time since at least the mid 1960s, and maybe before, no one from Kansas is on the House Agricultural Committee.
Former 4th District Rep. Todd Tiahrt said, "I'm shocked on this. This is rather startling and unprecedented. It's important Kansas has somebody on the agriculture committee."
Ag organization leaders also echo their shock and dismay, saying the state need someone who understands Kansas agriculture.
"Kansas is an incredibly important ag state in this country,” said Kansas Farm Bureau President Steve Baccus. “We really think somebody from Kansas legislatively needs to be on the Ag Committee."
Dalton Henry with the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers said, “ It’s surprising and disappointing to the wheat growers in Kansas to not have a representative on the House Agricultural Committee."
"This is not the first time I've been punished for speaking my mind," Huelskamp said.
Besides Huelskamp, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan was also ousted from the Budget Committee. Tiahrt said he’s hoping there’s some way Huelskamp makes amends and get his seats back.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
House Speaker John Boehner's decision to take plum committee assignments away from four Republican lawmakers after they bucked party leaders on key votes isn't going over well with conservative advocacy groups.
Representative Tim Huelskamp of Kansas' First District was removed from the House Budget and Agriculture Committees on Monday.
According to a news release issued by the congressman, he was given limited explanation for his removal from the posts.
"The GOP leadership might think they have silenced conservatives, but removing me and others from key committees only confirms our conservative convictions," Huelskamp said. "This is clearly a vindictive move, and a sure sign that the GOP Establishment cannot handle disagreement."
Justin Amash of Michigan will also lose hit seat on the House Budget Committee chaired by Rep. Paul Ryan next year. And Reps. Walter Jones of North Carolina and David Schweikert of Arizona are losing their seats on the House Financial Services Committee.
Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner, said Tuesday that the party's steering committee made the decision "based on a range of factors."
All four had voted against the agreement in the summer of 2011 to raise the government's debt ceiling, and three of them opposed the budget blueprint Ryan wrote.
This will be the first time in roughly 50 years that the first district will not be represented on the agriculture committee.
The Associated Press contributed to this report