Tim Huelskamp

Ted Cruz and Mike Lee Revive Efforts to Defund ObamaCare


Remember when Republicans took control of the House in the 2010 election by riding the anti-ObamaCare wave and pledging to repeal and/or defund it?  What happened to that?

As I wrote last week, the repeal efforts have largely fizzled.  Then on Wednesday, the House again voted for a CR that doesn’t even touch the funding for ObamaCare.  The bill (HR 933, dubbed the “Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013,” would extend federal government funding beyond March 27 through the end of FY 2013 on September 30, 2013.  Congratulations to the Boehner/Cantor/McCarthy gang for refusing to use the House’s power to originate appropriations bills to any meaningful effect.

The CR passed despite valiant effort by  Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) and Re. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) to encourage Boehner and Cantor to support the defunding efforts.  The letter stated in part:

Watch CPAC 2013 Live — Video of McConnell and Ryan’s Speeches

Paul Ryan speaks at CPAC

If you couldn’t make it to CPAC 2013, you can watch it live via stream provided by PBS NewsHour. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), and NRA Chairman Wayne LaPierre have already spoken this morning. You can watch McConnell and Ryan’s speeches below.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), 2012 GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA),  are slated to speak early this afternoon.

During his speech this morning, Minority Leader McConnell vowed to repeal ObamaCare and slammed the budget produced by Senate Democrats:

Chairman Ryan spoke about the fiscal issues facing the country. He dropped a line that was tweeted like crazy. Ryan said, “This has been a really big week. We got white smoke from the Vatican, and we got a budget from the Senate. But when you read it, you find the Vatican’s not the only place blowing smoke this week.”

John Boehner re-elected as Speaker of the House

John Boehner

Despite (unsourced) rumors of his resignation and demise, John Boehner (R-OH) was re-elected as Speaker of the House this afternoon as the 113th Congress convened for the opening of its first session:

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) was reelected Speaker of the House on Thursday after a week of rumors of a possible GOP revolt.

Boehner won a bare majority in a vote that saw nine Republicans vote for other GOP members, and several others who abstained from voting or voted “present.” Two years ago, Boehner won all 241 available GOP votes.

In a vote that opened the 113th Congress, Boehner received 220 votes, compared to 192 for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the minority leader. Fourteen members voted for other candidates or present. Boehner needed 218 votes to win reelection.

Stories broke yesterday afternoon that Boehner would resign during a meeting with the House Republican Conference. That obviously didn’t happen. Then the rumor was that enough conservative members had said that they were ready to vote to oust Boehner in today’s vote. Again, that didn’t happen.

Here’s how the dissenting members voted:

Defectors from Boehner included Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who voted for Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho). Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and two freshmen, Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), all voted for Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), but Cantor himself voted for Boehner.

Reps. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) voted for outgoing member Allen West (R-Fla.). Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) voted for former Comptroller General David Walker. Speakers of the House do not have to be members of the House, although historically they all have been.

Ben Swann on the House GOP purge

Last week, House Republican leadership made new by removing four fiscally conservative members — Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Walter Jones (R-NC), and David Schweikert (R-AZ) — off of key committees. House Speaker John Boehner, who was already being criticized for his willingness to raise tax revenues, was accused of leading a purge of conservatives from positions of influence.

Is Boehner leading a purge of fiscal conservatives? Ben Swann, host of the “Reality Check” segment on Cincinnati-based Fox 19, weighs in:

Conservatives Bash Boehner Over Purge…But What About Paul Ryan?

Written by Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

Conservatives are hammering House Speaker John Boehner over the purging of reliably limited government Republicans who weren’t afraid to buck the GOP leadership. But what about Paul Ryan?

There were two Republicans on the House Budget Committee – chaired by Ryan – who voted against Ryan’s budget last spring: Rep. Justin Amash and Rep. Tim Huelskamp. Amash and Huelskamp were just kicked off the Budget Committee, which Ryan is going to continue to chair.

Now consider this quote from an unnamed House GOP leadership aid as reported by The Hill: “Changes are made for a variety of reasons, most often at the request of committee chairs.” That makes it pretty clear that Ryan played a role – if not the role – in getting rid of Amash and Huelskamp. Yet – to my knowledge – conservatives haven’t trained any of their fire on Ryan.

How come?

With Purge, House GOP Leadership Reaches New Low

Written by Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

In December 2010, I wrote that “An indicator of the incoming House Republican majority’s seriousness about cutting spending will be which members the party selects to head the various committees.” The final roster ended up leaving a lot to be desired from a limited government perspective. For example, the House Republican leadership and its allies went with “The Prince of Pork” to head up the Appropriations Committee.

Two years later, the committee situation is about to get even worse now that the House Republican leadership has decided to send a message that casting a vote according to one’s beliefs instead of one’s instructions is a punishable offense. On Monday, four congressmen were booted from “plum” committee assignments for failing to sufficiently tow the leadership line. I suspect that the purge was motivated, at least in part, by Team Boehner’s desire to have the rest of the rank and file think twice before casting a “no” vote on whatever lousy deal is struck with the White House to avoid the “fiscal cliff.”

VIDEO: Heritage Foundation Bloggers Briefing With Reps. Justin Amash and Tim Huelskamp

Jason has already blogged on how Boehner kicked several freshman conservatives off the Budget and Financial committees. Now, here their side of the story, as Representatives Justin Amash of Michigan and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas came to Heritage Foundation to note what they see as the failures of GOP leadership — namely, they’re not running on their advantage of sane fiscal policy, and they will do anything, even hike taxes, in order to avoid cuts in military spending.

Also on hand was David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, who talked about LEED certification, and how it’s a giant racket for the US Green Building Council. The Council is supposedly a nonprofit, but it’s dictated that federal building policy to mandate Gold LEED certification for all government buildings, which nets the Council some $50,000-$200,000 on average per building, on top of taxpayer monies they receive. Nonprofit? I hardly think so.

Fiscal conservatives are being booted from House committee assignments

John Boehner

As House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders try to wheel-and-deal with the White House on the “fiscal cliff” by debating how much they’re going to raise taxes, fiscal conservatives are, according to Daniel Horowitz at RedState, being booted from their committee assignments with no explanation or cause given (update at the bottom of the post that disputes part of Horowitz’s write-up):

Earlier today, we provided a list of those who made it onto the Super A committees.  Well, Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) is a conservative freshman member who was actually kicked off the Financial Services Committee.  Members are rarely kicked off committees unless there is a scandal.

David Schweikert is one of those 2010 freshmen who is actually a Tea Partier in deed as well as rhetoric.  While many freshmen folded under the pressure from leadership, Schweikert was actually removed from the Whip team because of his conservative dissent during the budget battles.

And who is replacing him on the committee?  Our good buddy, Richard Hudson (NC-8), who was handpicked by leadership to run.  Hmmm, I can’t remember the last time a sophomore member was replaced by an incoming freshman for no good reason.

Club for Growth rates the Tea Party Class

The freshman class elected to the House during the 2010 mid-term elections came Washington with a lot of hype. After all, this group of 87 members were dubbed the “Tea Party Class” thanks to coming to power during the height of the Tea Party movement. But not all of the members of this class have voted in the best interest of taxpayers, despite some still claiming the mantle of the Tea Party.

Yesterday, the Club for Growth released a study examining the votes of the class, showing that many have indeed been disappointments:

In the 2010 election, 87 freshmen House Republicans came to Washington pledging fealty to the Tea Party movement and the ideals of limited government and economic freedom. The mainstream media likes to say that the freshman class is the most uncompromising group of fiscal conservatives in history…but just how Tea Party are they? Did all 87 freshmen always vote to cut spending and limit the size of government, or did some of them vote like the big-spending R.I.N.Os of the past?

This study was compiled from the Club for Growth’s Congressional Scorecard, which evaluates lawmakers based upon their commitment to limited government and pro-growth policies. What we found was that while some freshmen have lived up to the promises they made to the tea party movement, dozens of them are big-spenders and are no different from many of the veteran Republicans they serve with.

We covered the Club’s Congressional Scorecard back in March, the results of which were based on dozens of voters related to fiscal issues, including the repeal of ObamaCare, cutting market distorting energy subsidies, and a wide range of spending cuts.

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