Meadows said that 13 GOP bipartisan infrastructure supporters should lose their committee assignments.
The bill “will clear the way for more socialist spending,” per Trump’s former White House chief of staff.
He also said that McCarthy’s team should have more effectively whipped the caucus against the bill.
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.
Meadows, during an interview on former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, went after what he saw as recalcitrant behavior on the part 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 subcommittee,” he said. “That should be taken away.”
When Bannon asked Meadows if he wanted to “strip” the 13 members of their committee assignments, the former White House official said that it 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, with progressives calling on House leadership to put both the bipartisan bill and a separate $1.75 trillion reconciliation social spending framework up for a vote on the floor, while moderates pushed for a vote on the bipartisan bill without tying it to the Build Back Better Act.
Moderates eventually won out, with the bipartisan infrastructure bill passing the House on Friday in a 228-206 vote, aided by the Republicans who supported the legislation.
With Democrats holding a slim 221-213 majority and six Democrats – all members of “The Squad” – rejecting the legislation, Republican votes allowed the bill to pass.
This action fueled the backlash from Meadows and former President Donald Trump, who railed against the bill in August shortly before it passed the Senate in a bipartisan 69-30 vote and castigated Republicans lawmakers who backed the legislation.
House Republican leadership is preparing for a push by rank-and-file members to remove GOP supporters of the bill from their committees, according to Punchbowl News.
Controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who in February was removed from her committees in response to her incendiary social media posts, described fellow party members who backed the infrastructure bill as “traitor Republicans.”
During the conversation with Bannon, Meadows said that the party would never regain the House majority if they didn’t hold firm against Biden’s legislative agenda.
“We have to actually govern like conservatives, and yet 13 Republicans bailed and voted with [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi,” he said. “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, then alleged that Republicans who rejected the bill will 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 [National Republican Congressional Committee] 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. “If I’m going to give money to ’em, I at least want to make sure they’re on my team.”
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