Boehner targets trade-bill defectors; Scalise strips three from leadership positions

House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Whip Steve Scalise have dismissed three GOP members from their deputy whip positions for voting against a procedural rule which arranged the introduction of a trade bill brought to the House floor.  Among the casualties:  Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Steve Pearce (R-NM) and Trent Franks (R-AZ).

Informed on Monday of their dismissal, Steve Scalise (R-LA), notified aides to the banished GOP members in what was described as “cordial” exchanges.

“The majority whip’s decision was based on longstanding whip team rules that state members must “vote as a team on procedural matters” but are free to vote against leadership on underlying legislation, the whip team source said.”

In response to being sacked, Rep. Lummis said:  (regarding her vote on the procedural matter) “That she was aware there could be repercussions.” Dissimilarly, Rep. Pearce was less fond and asserted:

“Not much has changed in the House. I came here to represent the people of the Second Congressional District of New Mexico. That means considering each vote on its merits and striving to do the right thing for them.”

The internal housecleaning may not end with the dismissals of the three deputy whips; it is suspected several subcommittee chairpersons, all of whom voted against the same procedural rule, may be led to the gallows and removed from their sub-committee chairmanships.

The U.S. House, once a dignified chamber has, yet again, revealed itself to be fueled more by resentment than ideas.

It is incumbent upon the House leadership to lead, tolerate dissension and allow members to vote on principle.  By stripping three GOP members of minor leadership positions, John Boehner and Steve Scalise have exposed themselves to be little more than petulant children incapable of rising above petty point scoring.

Instead of espousing persuasive language to convince members on the merits of a bill, the House GOP leadership is creating a permanent culture in which the hushed threat of retribution and labeling of defectors as renegade or, worse, Judas, is the primary device to cajole members to vote in a preferred way.

Members of the U.S. House serve their districts, not the masters in Congress.  Stripping these three of their leadership positions is proof there is honor among thieves but not politicians.

Are we to expect Boehner and Scalise will now endorse Franks’, Lummis’ and Pearce’s GOP primary challengers in the next election cycle?

[thehill.com]