Posted: 12:19 pm Wednesday, January 7th, 2015
By Jamie Dupree
A day after another public coup attempt against Speaker John Boehner, GOP lawmakers aired their differences in a closed door meeting at the Capitol, with some Republicans urging party leaders not to retaliate against those who did not support Boehner.
“We’re going to have a family conversation,” Boehner told reporters, “about bringing our team together,” as the Speaker left open the chance that two Republicans from Florida might be reinstated to their slots on the powerful House Rules Committee.
“I knew there was the risk of that,” said Rep. Richard Nugent (R-FL), who voted for his friend Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL).
“I think I’ve been loyal to this point, but that’s his committee,” Nugent acknowledged after leaving the GOP meeting.
Others who refused to back Boehner also expressed the hope that their leaders would not engage in retaliation for the failed coup.
“The Speaker is a man of integrity and for him to put retribution on anybody, I’d be surprised,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), one of 25 Republicans who refused to back Boehner at the start of the 114th Congress.
“I’m not worried about retribution,” said Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), as he tried not to spill his cup of coffee on reporters in the basement of the Capitol while expressing his public support for Boehner.
“He’s our Speaker and he’s leading the conference and I look forward to working with him,” Yoho added.
The feeling among GOP lawmakers was that Webster and Nugent might be able to get their spots back on the Rules Committee; the majority slots there are directly controlled by the Speaker.
Inside the meeting, Republicans said there were Boehner supporters who argued for such punishment, while others made the other argument.
“I just don’t think it’s a good idea,” said one backer of the Speaker, Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), of retribution against those who opposed Boehner.
“We need to pull together,” said Fleming, who acknowledged that Republicans on both sides of the Boehner question were taking flak from party members back home.
Other retribution denied
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the House Veterans Committee denied reports that he had refused to give Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) a subcommittee chairmanship because Huelskamp had voted against Boehner.
“I make the appointments, and that appointment was never made,” said Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL). “That story was false.”
Asked by reporters if the punishment for his fellow Florida Republicans was fair, Miller stood by the Speaker.
“I mean, that is 100 percent the Speaker’s committee,” Miller added. “Again, that is a decision that the Speaker can put you on, he can take you off, he can put you back on.”
While there were clearly some bruised feelings from Tuesday, many lawmakers said they feel like the GOP will move on – and unite.
“The overall tone was positive,” said Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA). “We’re all a team here.”
As for the fate of the two Republicans moved off the Rules Committee, the Speaker said he wouldn’t leave that hanging for too long.
“I expect those conversations over the next couple of days will continue and we’ll come to a decision over how we go forward,” Boehner said at a news conference.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.