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House GOP wants to punish members who don’t put party over country

Republicans could be kicked off committees if they don’t vote along party lines.

By Eric Boehlert - September 07, 2018
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House Speaker Paul Ryan
House Speaker Paul Ryan

The Republican Party, already defined by its blind loyalty to Trump, is plotting to demand even more servitude from its House members.

House leaders are threatening to remove members from so-called marquee committee positions if they refuse to join certain party-line votes, or if they support forcing a vote on legislation against the will of party leaders, The Hill reports.

The GOP is also considering stripping committee chairs of their titles if they oppose party leadership on anything considered a key “leadership issue.”

“The thinking is that chairmen and members who belong to the most coveted committees should be the biggest team players, especially when it comes to tough votes,” The Hill reports.

According to Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Republican members are allowed to break with the party and vote their conscience — they just can’t do it while serving on “coveted” House committees.

“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,” Shimkus told The Hill.

Some GOP captains are specifically upset that a group of so-called moderate Republicans this year tried to circumvent leadership by signing onto a discharge petition to advance immigration reform legislation, even though Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the White House opposed the move.

The strict, heavy-handed move being planned would rob members of their independence, coercing them into placing loyalty to their party leadership above loyalty to their constituents back home.

But the issue may be moot after the midterm elections. If a “blue wave” gives Democrats control of the House in November, the GOP won’t be running any committees come January.

Overall, House Republicans have largely marched in lockstep during the Trump era. They have ignored their oversight duties and enabled the White House’s rampant culture of corruption.

Republicans seem to realize that they haven’t been doing their job — and some are privately panicking about the long list of investigations Democrats could launch if they retake the House majority.

Republicans are bracing for investigations into Trump’s possible violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause; Trump’s payment to Stormy Daniels, which likely violated campaign finance laws; Trump’s discussion of classified information at Mar-a-Lago; White House staff members’ use of personal email; and the botched disaster response in Puerto Rico, among other issues.

In truth, however, most Republicans have been blindly loyal to the GOP party line since Trump was sworn in. Kicking members off committees probably won’t change that.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation. 


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