By Chris Durden
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
1:41 PM CST, December 8, 2012
UPDATE: Rep. Tim Huelskamp sent a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner and the Republican Steering Committee Friday asking that he be put back on the Budget and Agriculture Committees.
Huelskamp is also demanding a full explanation as to why he and three other Republicans were removed from various committees in the past week. The 34-member Steering Committee, led by Speaker Boehner, meets again Dec. 10.
Original Story, December 5
He was just elected to a second term in the U.S. House of Representatives. However, when the new Congress convenes in January, Rep. Tim Huelskamp will no longer be on two influential committees.
A member of the conservative Tea Party Caucus, Huelskamp is losing his seat on the House Budget Committee and the House Agriculture Committee. He says it's because of votes he took against Republican leadership in the House.
This week, the 34-member Republican Steering Committee chaired by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), removed Huelskamp and three other representatives from committees.
Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner, said the steering committee made the decisions "based on a range of factors." Huelskamp calls the move "vindictive."
During a conference call on Wednesday, Huelskamp said the only explanation he can come up with is that he didn't vote with Speaker Boehner on several key votes. Those votes include an agreement to raise the debt ceiling and opposition to a budget blueprint by Rep. Paul Ryan. Huelskamp said the budget didn't make enough cuts to entitlements.
Huelskamp denies claims by some that he worked to defeat fellow Republicans he did not see as conservative enough.“That’s a flat-out lie. It’s probably coming from inside the Steering Committee,” Huelskamp is quoted as saying by the website Politico.
In response, some conservative groups have efforts to prevent Boehner from being re-elected as speaker.
This will be the first time in 151 years that Kansas is not represented on the House's primary agriculture committee.
"If Huelskamp is no longer on the Agriculture Committee, then that means he will no longer be part of the fine tuning of the concrete shaping of the farm bills that come out of Congress," said Friends University political science professor Russell Arben Fox.
Huelskamp ran unopposed in 2012 and was re-elected to a second term in Kansas' First Congressional District. He remains on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee and may join additional sub-committees.
In addition to Huelskamp, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan will also lose his seat on the House Budget Committee. Reps. Walter Jones of North Carolina and David Schweikert of Arizona are losing their seats on the House Financial Services Committee.
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