After Boehner was assured of his third term as Speaker of the House f, Boehner moved swiftly to dismiss two of the insurgents from the influential Rules Committee. That could be just the start of payback in the months to come for the Speaker’s betrayers, who might never see subcommittee chairmanships and other perks as they might have.
The removal of Florida Reps. Daniel Webster and Richard Nugent from Rules was public however. It was meant to send a clear message that what Boehner and other party leaders accepted during the previous Congress is no longer acceptable, not with the House’s biggest GOP majority in decades.
GOP leadership thought seats on the Rules Committee were a plum that these two no longer deserved and it just took a little bit of one day for Webster and Nugent (and tehir districts) to find themselves on the outside of a power structure they were once very much a part of.
The House Republican leadership is carefully reviewing the list of members who voted against the speaker and those who opposed a procedural motion in December on the so-called “crominibus,” the $1.1 trillion spending package to keep the government open through to September. Top Republican sources suggested that the process could take months to unfold.
“This is one of those cases where the fire has only gotten more intense,” said a GOP lawmaker. “More attention has been brought to this now. It’s not going to go away.”
Tuesday’s tally brought “double the number” of anti-Boehner votes compared with 2013, noted Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), one of the most vocal thorns in Boehner’s side. Huelskamp said he was unhappy that “only three of the freshmen class” voted against Boehner.
“I am already hearing from my colleagues, and myself, about retaliation against those who voted their conscience, their constituents, their principles, to change the status quo,” Huelskamp said. “My colleagues fully expect that. That’s what they expect out of this leadership team.”
In almost every sense, Boehner worked much harder for this reelection than he did in 2013. Two years ago, the Ohio Republican was caught off guard by a handful of rebels, one being Steve Stockman (infamous for leading "charges" only to find no one following - example, Stockman filed a bill to impeach Obama).
Poe saw how the vote was going to go and that it would be little more than symbolism for him to vote with the rebels. And he decided to vote in a way that gave his district as much clout for future votes and issues as possible.
“We don’t need these fringe guys as much as we did anymore,” said a GOP leadership aide, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We can let them walk on certain bills, and it just won’t matter. That gives us breathing room.”