Over the weekend something not entirely unexpected happened.
Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) of Utah, stripped Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) of his subcommittee chairmanship.
The reason for this harsh move by Chaffetz (someone who ran and won as a conservative)?
Meadows had the audacity to vote against the rule on the Trade Promotion Authority vote in the House. For those of you unfamiliar with this vote, it is not dissimilar to the cloture vote in the Senate. When bills are voted on in the House of Representatives, the rule establishing regular order must be voted on first. The rule votes are generally uneventful. Regular order is established, often along partisan lines, and then the actual vote on a bill takes place on the House floor.
With the current make-up of the House of Representatives, for the rule to go down, it will take 40 votes. On June 11th, 34 GOP Congressman voted against what many are calling Obamatrade as Trade Promotion Authority is really only part of the equation when you consider it is tied to the Trade Adjustment Assistance and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In other words, they made the right vote, not because they are against free trade. Rather, they are for it, but they are not for giving the Obama Administration a blank check when it comes to trade and trade agreements.
Here is the rub. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Co., lackeys of their corporate interests, are in danger of getting rolled on many bills these days because, well, they just aren’t pushing conservative legislation. They have to, in their minds, “restore order” and part of that process is disciplining conservatives who are simply fulfilling their campaign promises. As we have written about in the past, this is the rub for the current GOP. The Establishment will say whatever it takes to gain a majority (see Boehner and McConnell’s campaign trail promises they had no intention of fulfilling) versus conservatives who run on campaign promises they intend to fulfill once they win. GOP party bosses are figuring out a majority is one thing, a majority filled with conservatives is another.
We took a calculated risk on Mark Meadows in the 2012 election cycle. Many others thought he was just Establishment-lite and was telling outside groups what they wanted to hear, not what he was actually going to do once he got to Washington, D.C.
They were wrong.
Out of the gates this year Mark voted against John Boehner for Speaker, against executive amnesty in the DHS funding bill and the Doc Fix amongst other major votes. Because of these votes and the ones he cast against the TPA and TAA, Mark is now a target of the GOP Establishment. They have stripped him of his subcommittee chair. We know they are going to try and squeeze him when it comes to PAC donations to his re-elect. It is quite possible they are already working on trying to recruit a primary challenger to Mark without their fingerprints on it.
It is now time for the conservative movement to strike back, not just in supporting Mark with our dollars, but also to finding other conservatives we can defend and ones we can help win for the first time in 2016.
The GOP leadership in Washington, D.C. has no intention of changing and they will fight to the end to maintain their status quo.
It is now contingent upon us to change the equation for them.
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