Reps. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), all stripped of prized committee assignments earlier this month because of perceived sins against the party, did a three-amigos end zone dance as GOP leaders struggled and failed to get the votes for a tax-cut bill designed to empower Speaker John Boehner in negotiating the so-called fiscal cliff. …

“Republican leadership thought they could silence conservatives when they kicked us off our committees,” Huelskamp said. “I’m glad that enough of my colleagues refused to back down from the threats and intimidation, thus preventing the conference from abandoning our principles.” …

The leadership-driven Republican Steering Committee kicked the three lawmakers off of committees, a move that they interpreted as punishment for conservative voting records.

But Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), a conservative and a member of the Steering Committee, said the real reason was an “a-hole factor.” Another member of the Steering Committee, seeking to distinguish between these lawmakers and others who might be difficult to deal with, called them the “most egregious a-holes” in the Republican Conference.