House Leadership Removes Rule Dissenters From Whip Team

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

After a group of Republicans nearly scuttled the Obama trade effort last week by voting against a procedural rule dictating the debate terms for the trade bill, House leadership is pushing back.

National Journal reports that House leadership has removed three of the dissenting members from the GOP whip team.

Reps. Cynthia Lummis, Steve Pearce, and Trent Franks have been removed from the whip team after they sided with GOP rebels to vote against a rule governing debate on a trade bill, according to sources close to the team.

The repercussions come as House Republicans prepare for another procedural vote to bring back Trade Adjustment Assistance — a key portion of the Obama trade effort to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which would grant the president fast-track authority to negotiate trade deals — as late as July 30.

The report noted that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) had indicated in the past that he would not condone members opposing the rule and that Lummis was aware of those boundaries.

“Cynthia knew going into the rule vote last week that being a member of the Whip Team has certain parameters,” Lummis spokesman, Joe Spiering, told National Journal. “She understands his decision and departs the Whip organization with nothing but the utmost respect for Mr. Scalise and his entire organization.”

Tuesday morning, House Speaker John Boehner voiced his disapproval about members who buck the party’s procedural rules.

“I’m not very happy about it,” Boehner told reporters following a closed door caucus meeting. And I made it pretty clear to the members today I was not very happy. We’re a team and we’ve worked hard to get the majority, we’ve worked hard to stay in the majority and I expect our team to act like a team. And I, frankly, made it pretty clear I wasn’t very happy.”

National Journal notes that there remain rule dissenters that hold positions of leadership who could be affected as well including Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Mark Meadows (R-NC), and John Fleming (R-LA).


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