Why one GOP freshman exited the House whip team
posted at 7:40 pm on July 22, 2011 by Tina Korbe
This morning, Politico reported in its mass “Huddle” e-mail that House Republican leadership kicked one freshman Congressman — Arizona Rep. David Schweikert — off the whip team for supposedly switching his vote on an unspecified piece of legislation. Actually, a source close to Schweikert’s office says, that’s not quite accurate.
This is what the Politico e-mail said:
HUDDLE SCOOP: FROSH KICKED OFF WHIP TEAM — Rep. David Schweikert, a freshman from Arizona, was removed from the Republican whip team — the group of lawmakers who help round up votes for the leadership — for what sources say is a violation of the first rule of the whip club. The rule: Don’t promise to vote one way and then vote the other way. Sources declined to specify which vote cost Schweikert his seat at the table, but he did vote ‘no’ on the Energy and Water Appropriations bill last Friday. Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam pointed Huddle to Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s office when asked about the episode. ‘This is a whip team family issue,” McCarthy spokeswoman Erica Elliott said.
It’s true Schweikert — ranked one of the most conservative freshmen in the House — has disagreed with leadership on various issues. And he did feel unwelcome on the whip team, the source says, but the decision to leave was ultimately his.
“He’s been pretty clear and pretty adamant that nobody can buy his vote, so he was a little frustrated with the way leadership asked him to vote on certain occasions,” the source said. “So, he decided it would be best for him to step out and leave the whip team because he couldn’t align with them in certain areas. In no way, shape or form did leadership kick him out, but they made it a pretty inhospitable environment for him to actually vote his conscience and not buy his vote on the whip team. He still supports top leadership.”
Schweikert will also still remain an involved freshman. He’s the vice chairman of the Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee of Financial Services and he’s been “working night and day on reforming GNCs,” as well as on efforts to reform the Dodd-Frank financial regulation legislation (itself supposedly a reform bill!).
He’s also focused on ensuring the best possible outcome of the debt negotiations. Even after the Senate failed Cut, Cap and Balance, Schweikert supports it as the House plan.
“He is focused solely on Cut, Cap and Balance,” the source said. “He hopes he can still play a role in working with leadership and other freshmen that want to get the message out that the Democrats have misled the American people and the president has no plan for the country.”