Mark Meadows said the 13 GOP infrastructure-bill supporters should lose their committee assignments.
Trump’s former chief of staff said the bill would “clear the way for more socialist spending.”
He also said Kevin McCarthy’s team should have more effectively whipped the caucus against the bill.
The former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said on Tuesday that 13 House Republicans who backed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure legislation should be removed from their committee assignments, arguing that they went against the wishes of conservative voters.
During an interview on the former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, Meadows went after what he saw as recalcitrant behavior of GOP members who defied House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.
“They will continue to get money, and they will continue to hold their leadership positions as ranking members on committees and subcommittees,” he said. “That should be taken away.”
When Bannon asked Meadows if he wanted to “strip” the 13 members of their committee assignments, Meadows said that should “absolutely” happen.
“These people voted for Joe Biden, for an infrastructure bill that will clear the way for more socialist spending that will, quite frankly, gives Joe Biden a win,” he said. “I don’t know how you can send a clearer message than saying, ‘Listen, obviously you’re not on our team. We’re going to give that leadership position to somebody else.'”
For months Republicans watched as Democratic infighting stalled President Joe Biden’s top legislative priorities. Progressives called on House leadership to put both the bipartisan bill and a separate $1.75 trillion reconciliation social-spending framework up for votes on the floor, while moderates pushed for a vote on the bipartisan bill without tying it to the separate framework.
Moderates eventually won out, and the House voted 228-206 on Friday to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill. With Democrats holding a slim 221-213 majority and six Democrats – all members of “The Squad” – rejecting the legislation, Republican votes helped pass the bill.
That fueled the backlash from Meadows and former President Donald Trump, who railed against the bill in August, shortly before the Senate passed it, and castigated the Republican lawmakers who backed the legislation.
Punchbowl News reported that House Republican leadership was preparing for a push by rank-and-file members to remove GOP supporters of the bill from their committees.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who in February was removed from her committees in response to incendiary social-media posts, described fellow party members who backed the infrastructure bill as “traitor Republicans.”
During the conversation with Bannon, Meadows said the party would never regain the majority in the House if it didn’t hold firm against Biden’s legislative agenda.
“We have to actually govern like conservatives, and yet 13 Republicans bailed and voted with Nancy Pelosi,” he said, referring to the House speaker. “She is willing to go in and sacrifice everything for her agenda. And what do we see? Thirteen Republicans that bailed.
“And the blame just doesn’t stop there with the 13 Republicans. Let’s be very clear: Kevin McCarthy and his leadership team should have whipped this harder, and they should have made the Democrats get to 218 votes as a threshold. If we continue to do this when we’re in the minority, we’ll never be in the majority, because the American people want something that’s authentic,” Meadows added.
Meadows, who represented a North Carolina US House district from 2013 to 2020 before joining the Trump White House, indicated that Republicans who rejected the bill would end up financially supporting party members who backed the legislation.
“What they do is they take members like me and they assess ‘dues’ that you have to pay to the NRCC so that they can give that money in a socialist, communist way to members like these 13 who just voted in the opposite way that I would vote and the Freedom Caucus members would vote,” he said, referring to the National Republican Congressional Committee. “If I’m going to give money to ’em, I at least want to make sure they’re on my team.”
Read the original article on Business Insider