After House Speaker John Boehner began punishing conservatives for voting independently on the controversial trade deal, members of Congress have decided that enough is enough.
Dozens of members of the House GOP’s most conservative faction plan to meet Tuesday to discuss ways to counteract the decision of House Speaker John Boehner and other leaders to seek retribution against members who vote against must-pass measures. The House Freedom Caucus, a GOP group made up of about 40 of the most conservative members, plans to hold the discussion some time after Tuesday’s evening votes, according to lawmakers familiar with the initiative.
Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Monday in a radio interview that many conservatives were “fed up” with the string of punishment meted out to members who don’t vote in line with the Republican leadership on key legislation. The latest punishment was handed down to Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., for voting against an important procedural resolution to advance “Fast Track” trade legislation the GOP is eager to pass. Meadows last week was stripped of his chairmanship of the House Oversight Government Operations subcommittee.
Members of Congress are beholden to their constituents, not John Boehner. The Republican leadership may have been able to get away with these intimidation tactics a few years ago, but the conservative classes of 2010, 2012, and 2014 have created a conservative majority within the GOP majority, and their influence during key votes is too big for Boehner to ignore.