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Do Republicans need to party like it’s 1995?

Posted by Austin Petersen • 04 Dec 2012

A message from Libertarian Republic writer Samuel Clemens:

Speaker John Boehner has officially removed Reps. Justin Amash and Tim Huelskamp from the Budget Committee, and Rep. David Schweikert from the Financial Services Committee. What was their crime? Voting against the endless spending pushed by the Republican Establishment.

This isn’t the first time recalcitrant statesmen have been removed from committees. In 1995, Speaker Newt Gingrich and Appropriations Chairman Bob Livingston kicked Rep. Mark Neumann off the Appropriations Committee for a particularly dastardly deed: refusing to vote for the war in Bosnia without a Congressional declaration of war.

But here is where the story gets interesting. Neumann wrote a letter to his fellow freshmen, noting that “if voting my conscience gets me kicked off committees, then I’m sorry I only have one committee to get kicked off of.”

From the New York Times, “His next confrontation with the Speaker was the one that launched the freshman revolt. In September 1995, Neumann proposed an amendment to a Defense Appropriations bill, stating that troops couldn’t be sent to Bosnia without Congressional approval. ”They took my amendment out,” he says, ”and this time the bill was defeated, and I was blamed because I was on the committee.” Neumann immediately heard from Bob Livingston, the Appropriations chairman. ”He called me into his office and started screaming at me. It got so bad that two Capitol police officers came to the door to see if anything was wrong.”

Fellow Republicans like Steve Largent, Tom Coburn, and David McIntosh (among others) led a revolt, voting “present” until Neumann was restored to Appropriations. Enough Republicans abstained from voting that the Democrats had an effective voting majority.

Click here to call Boehner and tell him to immediately restore these Congressmen to their respective committees. FreedomWorks activists have set up an action alert that will connect you directly with the Speaker’s office.

The steely resolve of these brave Republicans caused Gingrich to not only restore Neumann to the Appropriations Committee, but he was also placed on the Budget Committee. Neumann became a folk hero among his fellow freshmen, and Republican leadership learned a lesson… until now.

We need outside pressure from American citizens, but we also need our Members of Congress to show us what they’re made of and stand up against the purge tactics of Leadership. These three Members are among the few who actually take their Oath to defend the Constitution seriously, and they are being targeted for their fidelity to us, the people.

We’ve heard a lot about how the 2010 class is full of “radical Tea Partiers,” now let’s see if they’re as Tea Party as the class of 1994.

Amplify what they can’t defy

Read the full story about Neumann’s adventures in Washington here.