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Rep. Walter Jones surprised at being kicked off committee

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Rep. Walter Jones, a rare moderate Republican, said he was “very disappointed” and “a little bit surprised” he was booted from a plum committee assignment after he repeatedly voted against House Speaker John A. Boehner’s wishes.

But the North Carolina lawmaker said he isn’t angry, has no regrets and vowed to continue to vote his conscience.

“I’m not going to sacrifice my integrity for anyone or any party,” Mr. Jones told a gathering of reporters at the Capitol Tuesday. “It’s the price you pay. I didn’t come up here to be a puppet for anyone. And I think the public back in my district, which is the most important, has seen I’m willing to do what I think is right.”

Mr. Jones, who easily won a 10th term to the House last month, and fellow Republican Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona are losing their seats on the House Financial Services Committee, while GOP Reps. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas and Justin Amash of Michigan will lose their seats on the House Budget Committee.

Mr. Jones has voted against his party about 30 percent of the time, records show.

Michael Steel, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner, said Tuesday the party’s steering committee made the decision “based on a range of factors,” the Associated Press reported.

Mr. Jones said he learned won’t be returning to the financial services panel “on the Internet” — not from his party’s leadership.

The Republican, 69, said he wasn’t worried about future reprimands from the speaker, joking he was “too old” to worry about such things.

“In the long run, any time, any leadership, Republican or Democrat, takes this kind of action … I think you hurt yourself more than you hurt anyone else,” he said.

He added that lawmakers’ obsession with campaign fundraising is crippling Congress.

“This whole place is all about money. Money is more important than policy,” he said. “Both parties are all consumed with raising money.”

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