‘We believe that if you’re on an ‘A’ committee … we expect a little more out of folks…’
Conservative groups erupted in protest at the news.
Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) presented the proposed changes to a panel of House GOP leaders this week, reported The Washington Post.
The rules, which would take effect after the midterm election, “would force members who spurn leadership to appear before the Republican Steering Committee, which determines committee assignments, to explain their behavior and face possible sanctions,” The Post said.
Renegade Republicans who vote against the party lines and create logistical headaches could risk losing the plum committee assignments, reported The Hill.
“The resolution would require the Steering Committee to review whether changes should be made to a lawmaker’s committee assignments if they vote against a rule, which sets the stage for floor debate on legislation and is almost always passed along party lines, or if they support a discharge petition, which is a tool to force floor votes with 218 signatures and circumvent leadership,” it said.
Even leadership positions were on the table, it added.
“Committee chairs could see their gavels on the line if they vote against anything considered a key ‘leadership issue’ under the proposal, according to a GOP source.”
Illinois Rep. John Shimkus, a member of the Steering panel, told The Hill on Wednesday that the proposal helped ensure party leadership knew what to expect from its committee heads.
“We believe that if you’re on an ‘A’ committee … we expect a little more out of folks,” he said. “That would then start the process of saying you can vote however you want, but maybe you should reconsider the committee that you’re on.”
Conservative reaction was swift. FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon said the rules seemed to be party leaders’ way of punishing rank-and-file members for their own failures.
“House Republican leadership has been largely inept in delivering on the conservative promises on which they’ve campaigned on year after year,” Brandon said. “ObamaCare has not been repealed, government spending is still out of control, and Republicans risk losing seats in the House come November as a result. It’s no wonder House leadership would rather lash out at fellow Republicans than take responsibility for their own mistakes.”
However, not all GOP leaders are on board either with the proposal.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who may seek to move up to the Speakership when Paul Ryan retires, told The Post he took issue with the language of Scott’s proposal.
Asked if he supported it, McCarthy said, “The way he wrote it? No.”
The Post added that McCarthy declined to elaborate on how what might be done to make it workable. “Check with me later. I’ll tell you,” he said.