Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), a staunch conservative subject to a new attack by a PAC with ties to John Boehner, is slamming the House Speaker over the American Action Network (AAN) attack ads in favor of President Obama’s executive amnesty.
AAN began running television ads against Huelskamp and Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) in their districts pressuring them to drop their efforts to defund Obama’s executive amnesty in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill. Boehner’s ex-chief-of-staff Barry Jackson and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus’ immediate previous chief of staff Mike Shields are on the board of AAN.
“If these guys spent half as much time fighting Obama as they do attacking conservatives, maybe we’d win,” Huelskamp said in in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News on Tuesday.
This is very clearly Boehner’s group, and [former House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor’s group—it’s very interesting that the former Majority Leader was beaten in a primary, these folks are all connected with the establishment. These ads are obviously inaccurate, we did vote to fund DHS.
They’re going after folks who voted against Boehner and folks who voted for Boehner. There’s no difference with these ads. Jim Jordan voted for Boehner, I voted against him. Jim Bridenstine voted no. Numerous others on the list—[Raul] Labrador, [Morgan] Griffith, [Mark] Meadows, [Ted] Yoho, [Louie] Gohmert, it’s a mixture of folks.
But again, they can’t carry a tune and can’t carry a message about DHS. We were sent here to do what the American people told us to do, and they want to shoot the messenger instead of actually doing what they promised.
Huelskamp noted that AAN is “a pro-amnesty group” and that it likes “the president’s executive order.”
I think if you ask them and they answer honestly—but you can never expect honesty out of these insiders that have been up here for decades—but they would go for it in terms of policy,” Huelskamp said. “Ask them if they like amnesty and the answer is yes.
The last time they ran ads on policy they were trying to force John Boehner to take up the Reid-Rubio, the Reid-McCain, plan. These guys like amnesty and then they run ads so why would we expect them to be honest? This is exactly what the American people are sick and tired of.
Huelskamp added that AAN is not attacking Obama or any Democrats—just providing material support to the left’s political positions.
These folks at American Action Network—the Boehner crowd—are not attacking Obama or attacking his actions. They’re attacking those of us who are standing up for the Constitution. For Jordan and me and a dozen others, it’s not a bad political position to be in.
I don’t think these guys even get it—they are so out of touch with what the American people feel about Washington, D.C., and this out control government that I think this move will backfire on John Boehner and will backfire on American Action Network. At the end of the day it does embolden the president of the United States.
Huelskamp says Boehner is personally responsible.
“I saw Boehner on the floor last night and he walked by and didn’t say a word,” Huelskamp said.
Louie Gohmert and I were talking—I don’t know if Louie even know about this at that time. But he just walked on by. He knows. This guy is well aware. That’s what they were doing this last weekend—instead of outlining a plan to defeat Harry Reid and maneuver the Senate and Mitch McConnell, they were putting together a plan to shoot the messenger.
Huelskamp said that Democrats would never behave the way Boehner and his allies are acting.
“When is the last time you saw Nancy Pelosi run ads against Dan Lipinski, a pro-life Democrat in the House? The chair of the pro life caucus?” Huelskamp said.
It does not happen. It does not happen. But here you have the Republican establishment, that’s what they do. Then they act amazed that they can’t gather conservative support—not people inside the beltway but grassroots conservatives across the country. It’s exactly why they continue to lose elections, because they nominate folks who either detest conservatives or don’t like them or don’t talk to them.
It’s not just Boehner, Huelskamp said, that is a failure in GOP leadership: It’s the whole leadership team.
“Cathy McMorris Rodgers [the House GOP conference chairwoman] was telling one of the folks who has been targeted that ‘we are fighting, we’re going to go this weekend on every Sunday talk show and talk about this amnesty and talk about the Constitution’ and then on Saturday morning the message of the radio address was about college savings plans,” Huelskamp said. “They couldn’t even keep the message for 24 hours. They went back to some of it on Sunday. At the end of the day, it’d be a comedy of errors if this wasn’t so serious.”
Huelskamp said Boehner’s cave on executive amnesty on Tuesday—which Boehner did under the political cover of the speech Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered to Congress—was something that began back in December when Boehner pushed through the 1,771-page $1.1 trillion so-called “cromnibus” spending deal that not one member of Congress read before voting on. “The path we’re on is the path that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell started,” Huelskamp said.
When I was in conference last week, Speaker Boehner said let’s remind ourselves how we got here. On Nov. 20, the president issued his executive order then the House passed a bill to fund everything except the president’s executive amnesty.
I said, wait a minute Mr. Speaker, you forgot about something in between called a cromnibus. You decided to hold the Department of Homeland Security hostage, and now you don’t want to shoot the hostage you’ve taken.
But we have a perfect opportunity—85 percent of DHS goes to work [even if there was a partial shutdown]. There’s no impact on national security. But then you have these folks suggesting it does. That’s exactly how you lose.
You can’t even carry a tune for a couple months—this guy [Obama] is running circles around us. This all happens on the very day Obama’s press secretary announces they’re looking at unilateral action to pass a tax hike with an executive order, but John Boehner, John McCain and all these folks over at the NRCC turn around and go after conservatives.
Later in the interview, Huelskamp specifically noted that it was the cromnibus that enabled all of this.
“This is the Boehner-McConnell cromnibus strategy,” he said.
This is what I told every reporter in December that this is what was going to happen. I’m no genius or crystal ball viewer, but this is what was going to happen. We knew that. They knew that. But let’s not forget that since then on the biggest pro-life day of the year, they pulled a pro-life bill from the floor.
They brought out a so-called border security bill that ignored the amnesty. They brought a bill to the floor last week that funded No Child Left Behind. On every issue they’ve enraged grassroots conservatives, the heart of the Republican Party. It’s like they get up every day and say “how do we upset conservatives this week?”
Huelskamp questions why Boehner decided to support funding Obamacare for a full year back in December, too.
“Why did we fund Obamacare for the whole year?” Huelskamp asked.
“These are establishment folks who are concerned more with power over principle. Why did John Boehner fund Obamacare in December? Why did the majority of the House Republicans cave? Here we are, we’re under attack, and instead of fighting back—or even just surrendering—the leadership is turning around and shooting at us.”
Huelskamp worries too that surrendering to Obama on executive amnesty overreach sends a signal to the White House from Speaker Boehner that it’s okay to have a federal government takeover of the internet via the Federal Communications Commission and a tax hike via executive order—among other executive overreaches that Obama has already done or plans to do.
“That’s what we stood up and said in conference. That’s what I think most Republicans thought,” Huelskamp said.
But John Boehner said this is what we’re going to do and a lot of Republicans just say yes sir and give me my NRCC check. But there’s a few of us that stand up and say wait a minute—and you aside, these other reporters—you’re asking the good ones—but they ask “how do you make John Boehner’s strategy from December work?”
But even that one’s pretty simple: You’ve got to hold the line, take the message to the American people, and this is about amnesty and this about executive orders and ties together with this president’s overreach. It’s a great opportunity.
There’s a lot of other agencies that would create more havoc, but border security wouldn’t be negatively impacted [by a partial shutdown]. One thing that’s almost shameful, I think it’s an insult to America’s military, is the suggestion that 15 percent of DHS employees not showing up one day would hurt national security.
We have, what, over a million people in our Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. They’re defending our country. Not some secretary that’s pushing paper over at DHS. That’s not national security. The FBI and the whole armed force are still all in business.
Huelskamp is perturbed that GOP leadership is seeking to surrender the power of the purse to Obama whenever it can.
“The power of purse is the most effective tool in stopping an out of control monarch, i.e., president that our founders envisioned and here’s our one chance to use it and our leadership is fighting—they’re doing their best—in finding ways to surrender,” he said.
Right now, Huelskamp said, Boehner is leading a “suicide mission” for the GOP—and Republicans need to stand up and recognize that this path only benefits the Democrats.
“This looks like a suicide mission by the Republican establishment that is so out of touch,” Huelskamp said. “They look at the same polls we look at, but somehow they’re reading into them that they should go after conservatives instead of going after Obama. Everyone understands that’s the way you lose elections, lose Congress, lose the presidency, lose the future of our country.”
As for talk of a coup against Boehner because he’s now caving, Huelskamp said he thinks if enough Republicans vote their conscience—and do that their constituents want them to—Boehner would not be the speaker.
“If more members had voted their conscience—certainly if they had voted their constituency—we would have a different Speaker,” Huelskamp said.
But he is the Speaker. And right now conservatives in the House and in the Senate are directing their ire to where it belongs to take out Obama. But we’re taking not so friendly fire from folks who claim to be on our side.
All we do is remind the leadership what they promised the American people. John Boehner said he’d fight tooth and nail. This is outrageous, but the bigger point is not about the outrage. It’s just plain stupid. It’s a way you work yourself into a minority. But most importantly this is the way you do not defend the Constitution.