House Speaker John A. Boehner told three Republican members who were recently removed from their committees that there was no voting “scorecard” used to determine their assignments, as has been alleged by the congressmen claiming they were booted for bucking leadership on key votes.
“As has been made clear, there is no scorecard or any other single criteria used to determine committee assignments,” Mr. Boehner wrote in a letter dated Dec. 10 to Reps. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, Justin Amash of Michigan, and David Schweikert of Arizona. “The Steering Committee is a deliberative body that reviews all appropriate information. Any member of the Committee may present information. No appointment or decision is made without the assent of a majority of the Steering Committee Members.
“If you would like further explanation of why the Steering Committee made the decisions or how to be appointed to committees in the future, I encourage you to meet with Steering Committee Members individually,” Mr. Boehner concluded.
Mr. Huelskamp lost his spot on the House Agriculture and Budget Committees, Mr. Amash was booted from the Budget Committee, and Mr. Schweikert was kicked off the Financial Services Committee. All claim the moves were retaliation for votes they took.
Mr. Huelskamp and Mr. Amash were the only two Republicans who voted against Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, for example, and all three opposed last year’s deal to raise the federal debt limit.
The three congressmen on Friday had sent a letter to Mr. Boehner demanding a full justification for their removal and a copy of the purported scorecard. Rep. Walter B. Jones of North Carolina was also removed from the Financial Services Committee.
Mr. Huelskamp and Mr. Amash, both of whom released Mr. Boehner’s letter Tuesday, still claim that the Ohio Republican’s response proves the existence of a scorecard, even if it was not used to determine committee assignments.
Assignments are doled out by the steering committee headed by Mr. Boehner, and his spokesman, Michael Steel, said those decisions are “based on a variety of factors.”
Leadership aides disputed the notion that the four Republicans who were kicked off their committees were punished for being too conservative. They pointed to conservative lawmakers who won key committee assignments this year as evidence that it wasn’t a purge.