At the direction of Speaker of the House John Boehner, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz ousted North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows from his subcommittee chairmanship, shortly after he broke with leadership on the House floor by voting against a party-line procedural motion.
Meadows and more than thirty other Republicans voted against the rule that allowed for consideration of President Obama’s request for fast-track authority (TPA) to negotiate the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Many conservatives are upset that the Speaker and Republican leaders are working so closely with the president to get one of the largest trade deals in history passed — a deal which has been largely unread by both parties.
In his first interview since Chaffetz relieved him of his chairmanship, Meadows spoke with Breitbart senior political reporter Matthew Boyle. On Breitbart News Sunday, the 55-year-old congressman told Boyle that he would not bow to Republican bullying and that he was punished for “voting his conscience” and for representing the voice of the people he serves in his 11th district.
Boyle asked the congressman to explain what it was that he objected to in the rule that he voted against. Meadows told Boyle that the TPA was riddled with ambiguities. “There were 150 suggestions in the way TPA was structured. But they were not things that the president had to do, they were ifs, ands, and maybes,” he said. Meadows argued that it did not provide enough “checkpoints” for the members of the House to make sure the president is executing a trade deal that’s in the best interest of the country.
Boyle asserted that Meadows being removed from the subcommittee chairmanship, by the “third most powerful man in America,” was the “most severe and extreme action that Boehner has taken against a conservative or Republican in this Congress.” He added that, “this is really a new low by House Republican leadership.”
Meadows told Boyle that earlier in the year he had been targeted by a PAC, headed by Boehner’s former chief of staff, who had “close ties to the Speaker.” The congressman added, “They came after me. So I called up and said that I would no longer be giving money to the NRCC as long as my party is going to attack me.”
Voting against the rule and not donating to the NRCC “compelled leadership to put real pressure on Chairman Chaffetz to remove me from my subcommittee chairmanship,” Meadows explained.
Meadows told Breitbart News Sunday listeners that, “no one should be punished for voting their conscience. Whether they are right or wrong on the vote, they shouldn’t be punished.”
He stated further, “there really is no honor in bowing down to a bully. These are bullying tactics. There is honor in fighting the good fight whether you win or lose.”
Meadows recounted that he had to make a choice over the last 24 hours, whether to “speak out or raise the white flag and surrender.” He decided that “this is the time for America to let their voice be heard. My voting card belongs to the people of Western North Carolina.”
The “courageous conservative,” as nationally syndicated radio host and constitutional scholar Mark Levin referred to him, told Boyle that “just because the Speaker has a different opinion, the people that he represents shouldn’t trump the people of North Carolina, or Texas, or California, or wherever it is.”
Meadows added that “Each representative should be able to cast their vote based on their convictions and what the people who have elected them instructed them to do.”