Boehner exacts his revenge: TPP opponents get sacked in House GOP leadership purge

Punishing conservatives who oppose the Obama administration's trade policies, Boehner draws blood

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published June 16, 2015 10:07PM (EDT)

John Boehner                                    (Reuters/Larry Downing)
John Boehner (Reuters/Larry Downing)

34 Republicans voted against the rule setting up floor debate for the trade package known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership last week and now three will have to pay a price.

Reps. Cynthia Lummis (WY), Steve Pearce (NM) and Trent Franks (AZ) were booted from their party leadership positions for breaking with the Grand Ole' Party and voting against a part of the package the that gives the President the ability to negotiate trade deals known as fast track according to the National Journal. It was left to Rep. Steve Scalise (LA), House Majority Whip, to make the demotions.

GOP House rules state that members must “vote as a team on procedural matters,” although members are often allowed to vote against leadership on underlying legislation.

However, the move appears to come at the direction of House Speaker John Boehner who reportedly told rebellious GOP House members that he was fed up with their "nonsense," a remark that evidently "sparked applause" in the room full of Republican lawmakers.

Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Boehner made clear that he was disappointed by Republican members who did not vote with the party on the controversial trade legislation authority, “you know, we’re a team. And we’ve worked hard to get the majority; we’ve worked hard to stay in the majority," said Boehner. He continued, "and I expect our team to act like a team, and frankly, I made it pretty clear I wasn’t very happy.”

Although fast track authority was eventually passed by a slim 217-212 vote margin after 28 pro-trade Democrats voted in support of the package heavily pushed by the Obama administration, the coupled trade adjustment assistance (TAA), which provides modest assistance to American workers displaced by the trade agreement, was defeated.

The House voted last night to extend a vote on TPA until July 30. The Senate has already passed TPA and TPP but the legislation will not reach President Obama's desk until both chambers sign off on the entire package.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

House Gop John Boehner Trade Agreements Trans-pacific Partnership Agreement