In a controversial move that is already backfiring, last week Speaker John Boehner removed three fiscal hawks from key committees for not voting in lockstep with House leadership. In other words, House members are being punished for wanting to cut government spending and keep the promises they made to their constituents.
Boehner seemingly thought he could quietly remove Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas from the Budget Committee and Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona from the Financial Services Committee without any loud objections outside the halls of Congress. Maybe that would have been the case a couple of years ago before the rise of social media. The difference is today there is an army of grassroots liberty activists—both online and on the ground—that hold our elected officials accountable and stand up for legislators who vote the right way.
We the people will not keep silent when the GOP establishment punishes legislators for being fiscally responsible. As soon as the news of the committee purge leaked, the conservative blogosphere went wild, spreading the word and calling on Boehner to put fiscal conservatives back on their respective committees.
The legislators that were ousted are widely supported by the grassroots because of their consistent voting record in defense of economic freedom. Amash, Huelskamp, and Schweikert were 2012 recipients of the FreedomWorks Freedom Fighter Award, awarded to members who earned a minimum score of 90 percent on the FreedomWorks Congressional Scorecard during the 2011 legislative session, which occasionally required legislators to break with GOP leadership inside the Beltway in order to protect liberty and strengthen the economy across the country.
Justin Amash is the only congressman with a 100 percent lifetime rating from FreedomWorks. Tim Huelskamp and David Schweikert have a solid 96 percent lifetime rating from FreedomWorks. These principled legislators have stood with the Constitution even when it was unpopular to do so. They should be praised, not punished.
As Justin Amash quipped on Twitter, “only in Washington, D.C., is a person taken off of the Budget Committee for wanting to balance the budget.”
Speaker Boehner alleges that these lawmakers got the boot because of their unwillingness to be “team players”, not their ideology. This lame explanation makes no sense, as their principled ideology stopped them from voting for big spending bills pushed by House leadership.
Julie Borowski is a Policy Analyst at FreedomWorks, an organization dedicated to lower taxes, less government, and more freedom. Her writings on economic policy have appeared in numerous newspapers and online outlets. She is on the Board of Advisors for the Coalition to Reduce Spending and she launched an independent YouTube channel called TokenLibertarianGirl in June 2011.
She was previously selected to be a Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow with the Institute for Humane Studies where she worked at the Center for Competitive Politics. Most recently, she was a government affairs associate at Americans for Tax Reform.
Julie has volunteered for political candidates in Kentucky and in her home state of Maryland. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Frostburg State University in May 2010 where she studied political science, economics and international studies. She is now located in Washington, D.C.