House GOP revokes punishment for lawmaker who defied leaders

AP News
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Posted: Jun 25, 2015 3:14 PM
House GOP revokes punishment for lawmaker who defied leaders

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republican leaders handed a subcommittee gavel back to a defiant colleague Thursday days after revoking it in an act of party discipline.

GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he reconsidered his decision to oust fellow Republican Mark Meadows of North Carolina as chairman of the Government Operations subcommittee.

Chaffetz said he and Meadows had spoken several times, and "I think we both better understand each other."

Chaffetz had ousted Meadows from his chairmanship after Meadows and nearly three dozen other Republicans angered party leaders by opposing leadership-backed rules for debating a trade bill.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, supported Chaffetz' initial decision as part of a larger move to discipline the GOP's sometimes unruly right flank. But conservatives in and out of Congress complained loudly.

Another GOP dissenter, freshman Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, had appeared at risk of losing his position as president of the GOP's freshman class in the House. In his case, too, colleagues relented Thursday, leaving his position secure.

Boehner has faced ongoing debate about how to instill discipline in the House Republican conference, with some allies pressuring him to crack down more regularly when lawmakers fall out of line.

"Like any family, we have little squabbles from time to time. And we're in the middle of one as we speak, and I'm confident that we'll resolve our differences and move on," Boehner told reporters Thursday.