Payback Time? GOP Strips Tea Party Reps. of Posts

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WASHINGTON -- Two years after Tea Party conservatives swept House Republicans into power, GOP leaders appear to be sweeping some of those same Tea Party lawmakers under the rug.

Some believe it's because they're too conservative.

Tea Party Purge

Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp is a Tea Party Republican who came to Washington on a mission to rein in an out-of-control government.

"I was critical of the debt deal, which created the fiscal cliff," he told CBN News. "I was critical of the spending increases. I was critical of a lack of progress taking down Obamacare."

As one of Congress's most conservative members, his principles sometimes puts him at odds with party leaders. He was among the first Republicans to criticize House Speaker John Boehner's plan to avert the fiscal cliff.

"When you talk about $800 billion in new revenue I don't see how you do that without some pretty large increases in taxes," Huelskamp said. "And I've been very clear, as have most Republicans, that I don't want to raise taxes."

Huelskamp suggested the strong conservative stances he and other Tea Party colleagues have taken on issues like abortion and marriage may be one reason for the tension with GOP leaders. Listen to his comments below:

On the same day Boehner unveiled his counterproposal to the White House plan, he broke some bad news to certain members in his conference: Huelskamp along with North Carolina Rep. Walter B. Jones, Arizona Rep. David Schweikert, and Michigan Rep. Justice Amash were getting booted from their prime committee posts.

"Really, it's a slap in the face of all young people who are out there thinking about being Republicans," Amash said.

Huelskamp and Amash, both freshman, were removed from the Budget Committee where they voted against the Republican budget created by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

Despite being removed from the committee posts, Huelskamp vowed he and his Tea Party colleagues would not be silenced. Watch his comments below:

"How much do you think this had to do with your votes against the Ryan budget?" CBN News's John Jessup asked Huelskamp.

"Again, that might be part of it. We don't know," the Kansas lawmaker replied.

They don't know because they weren't given an explanation.

CBN News contacted Boehner's office to get some answers, but was only given this response: "The (Republican) Steering Committee makes decisions based on a range of factors."

A Vindictive Move?

With nothing concrete, Huelskamp wonders if his pro-life, pro-traditional marriage policies may also be to blame.

"Perhaps that might be the reason that some folks do not like me to continue to speak up," Huelskamp speculated.

Whatever the reason, he's labeled the move "vindictive," noting how party leaders also stripped him from the Agriculture Committee.

Huelskamp shared more of his thoughts what he views as the GOP leadership's punitive actions below:

Huelskamp said his removal will mark the first time in 150 years that a Kansas lawmaker will not be on the roster.

Some have suggested that the House GOP leadership, much like that song about Santa, is making a list and checking to make sure rebellious Republicans pay a price.

As for Huelskamp, he vowed that -- above party -- he'll remain loyal to the people who are most important: his constituents.

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CBN News
John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at