The Washington Times - December 10, 2012, 10:10AM

Rep. Tim Huelskamp has formally written to House Speaker John A. Boehner asking him to reinstate the Kansas Republican to the House Agriculture and Budget committees after he and three other Republican lawmakers were dismissed from their assignments last week.

Mr. Huelskamp said he sent the letter to Mr. Boehner on Friday asking for his spots back. The four lawmakers are widely suspected of being punished for a lack of party discipline on key votes.

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“It was no secret when I was assigned to these committees two years ago that I would hold Washington to a higher standard when it comes to getting our fiscal house in order and restoring government to its proper size and role,” he said. “I followed through on those promises to Kansans and will not cave on the principles and values that my constituents and I share.”

Mr. Huelskamp, along with Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan and David Schweikert of Arizona, have written to Mr. Boehner asking for a complete written explanation by the close of business Monday as to why they were removed from their committee assignments, plus any purported voting “scorecards” used to make the decision.

Mr. Schweikert, along with Rep. Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, was booted from the Financial Services Committee. Mr. Amash lost his seat on the Budget Committee.

Committee assignments are doled out by a steering committee headed by Mr. Boehner, and his spokesman, Michael Steel, said those decisions are “based on a variety of factors.”

Party leaders often struggle to maintain discipline. Earmarks once were a key tool, as leaders doled out spending for local projects based on who was most cooperative, but with the end of earmarks, leaders have fewer tools at their disposal. Committee assignments are one way to punish lawmakers.