Speaker of the House John Boehner has rewarded Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), one of the most well known candidates who challenged him in his successful effort to be re-elected Speaker, with a powerful Subcommittee Chairmanship.
The news that Gohmert and others who publicly rebelled against Boehner have received gavels to chair powerful House subcommittees rather than one-way tickets to the House basement has angered several Boehner loyalists.
On Thursday, Gohmert said he had been named chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the Natural Resources Committee.
According to current practice in the House, committee chairmen have the authority to select their own subcommittee chairmen.
But if Speaker Boehner had explicitly told Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), whom he selected, that he did not want Gohmert as a subcommittee chairman in that committee, it is a virtual certainty that Gohmert would not have received the appointment.
An anonymous Boehner loyalist serving in the House told the National Journal the appointment of Gohmert as chairman of a subcommittee “is a major slap in the face.”
Another rebel who voted against Boehner’s re-election as Speaker, Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC), was also named chairman of a subcommittee.
Incoming House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) recently named Meadows chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations.
Boehner’s allies hint that rewarding the rebels for their challenge to Boehner as Speaker is a sign of weakness. Ironically, none of the frustrated Boehner allies have been willing to make such a comment publicly.
Anonymously to the press, and behind closed doors among themselves, however, they do not appear to be mincing words. “There are a lot of us who are extremely pissed off,” another anonymous Boehner ally serving in the House told the National Journal.
The National Journal noted that the source “asked to speak anonymously in order to be more candid.”
The appearance of weakness in dealing with political foes and allies, it seems, is not limited to the Speaker’s office.