Thursday, June 25, 2015

Chaffetz Out-Maneuvered: Meadows Reinstated

Congressman Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina) was poised for retribution following his vote against GOP leadership against Fast-Track Authority, i.e. Obamatrade.

Meadows shared with reporters from The Daily Signal:

A conservative House lawmaker angry at “a culture of punishment and fear” created by Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team has had enough.

“For the last six months they have doled out small punishments in a variety of forms,” said Rep. Mark Meadows of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

He then reported what House Reform and Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) was planning to do:

"The leadership team wants to create a culture of punishment and fear without a culture of debate and dialogue. But there is no honor in bowing to a bully. There is only honor in fighting a good fight—win or lose. This is not a fight I will back down from.”

Meadows, R-N.C., was greeted in his Capitol Hill office last Thursday by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the House Oversight and Government Reform chairman, and given a lose-lose choice.

He could resign as chair of the Government Operations subcommittee or be removed from the role.

Chaffetz, whom I have styled as “Henry Waxman Jr.” admitted that Meadow’s vote against leadership did factor in the up-coming ouster.

Yet that ouster has not come up, and Meadows will stay on as chairman of the Government Operations committee.
Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC)
(From Carolina Public Press)

Today, the Committee and Sub-committee Chairman issued the following dual press release:

“Last week I announced a change in the Government Operations sub-committee chairmanship.  A number of people have asked me to reconsider that decision.  Having spoken with Mark Meadows several times during the past week, I think we both better understand each other.  I respect Mark and his approach.  The discussions and candor have been healthy and productive. Ultimately, I believe we both want to do what is best for the country.  Obviously I believe in Mark Meadows or I would not have appointed him to this position in the first place.  It is in the best interest of the Committee to move forward together.  Therefore, I have asked Mark to continue in his role as sub-committee Chairman,” said Chairman Chaffetz.

It is quite interesting that Chairman Chaffetz refuses to identify who asked him to “reconsider that decision”. The backlash against the GOP Leadership purge not only erupted within the House, but in social media, too, with Mark Levin calling Chaffetz “a shrimp” and “a fraud”.

Chaffetz had to admit that his sudden decision to remove Meadows does not make much sense, since he appointed him to the sub-committee chairmanship in the first place.

Meadows’ portion of the press release was gracious:

“I greatly appreciate Chairman Jason Chaffetz’ willingness to reconsider his decision, as well as my Oversight and Government Reform Committee colleagues’ support. I will continue to vote and conduct myself in accordance with my conscience, what my constituents want me to do, and what is best for the country. I look forward to continuing my work as Subcommittee Chairman of Government Operations under the leadership of the Oversight Committee Chairman. I know we are both dedicated to conducting real and meaningful oversight for the American people,” said Congressman Meadows.

The key standout in this release “conduct myself in accordance with my conscience” is the crucial element, and one major source of Meadows’s rising frustration with House leadership. House Reps are supposed to vote for what they believe is right, not just what their leaders want, and yet conservatives like Meadows along with other House conservatives were targeted for not getting along to go along.

So, what happened? How did Meadows weather the storm of leadership disdain bent on removing him from his subcommittee chairmanship?

Politico (yes, the left-leaning Politico) recounts how fellow House Oversight conservatives counted votes in their colleague’s favor:

House Freedom Caucus chairman Jim Jordan just showed he can outfox top Republicans.

[O]ver the course of a week, Jordan canvassed Republicans on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, shoring up support for Meadows (R-N.C.).

Jordan’s guerrilla campaign seemed to work — the majority of the overwhelmingly conservative committee said they wanted Meadows back.

Wow. Conservatives in Washington are pushing back against Establishment leadership and winning. While the Left and liberal interests have had a stellar record organizing their elements and intimidating their opponents into silent defeat, freedom advocates and federal conservatives had often found themselves disconnected or thwarted in their efforts to work together and advance their agenda.

That trend is changing, not just in the media, but within the Beltway.

This could be a major setback in Boehner’s leadership’s drive against lawmakers who defy him. GOP leadership have said for several weeks they were finally ready to crack down on dissenters.

This Congressional session, dissent is the conservative position, as limited government has faced limitless opposition from Democrats as well as Republicans. Until now.
Meadow’s reinstatement (or rather, maintenance, since he was never removed from his sub-com chairmanship) indicate that conservative pressure from the grassroots, the media, and within the federal legislature can be effective.

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