The move and the secret score card, he said, is “a slap in the face of all young people out there who are thinking about being Republicans, want to be a part of this party.”
“I voted with our team — the Republican side – 95 percent of the time,” Amash said. “And on the 5 percent of disagreements, those were on big issues” including the debt ceiling and the Republican budget, which he said did not go far enough to curb government spending.
“Though it’s confidential what happens behind committee doors,” Huelskamp said “a whole lot of leadership staffers knew what was going on.”
“We were not notified about this,” Huelskamp, who has since been told, added.
When the congressmen were elected in 2010, Huelskamp said, the two things they were told they had to do to were fundraise with Republicans and notify leadership of their vote before they made it. So long as they did those things, he said, they would be used to their best abilities on committees, and they were permitted to vote their conscience and their district.
“I’ve voted my conscience,” Hueslkamp said. “I’ve voted my district… I’m a farmer — 5th generation farmer… That’s my talent, that’s my ability. … We were told as freshmen, we’ll take your talents,” Huelskamp said. “Again, it was blindly being told how to vote.”
On sequestration, both Amash and Huelskamp charged Republican leadership with not ever being serious about spending cuts.
Defense cuts were “a lie to the American people,” Amash charged. “It was a gimmick… and that’s what we’ve been getting for years, for decades.”
“It was told to us in the Budget Committee that everybody knows it [automatic sequestration cuts] isn’t going to happen,” Amash told reporters. “What do you mean? … This has come directly from our leadership, so it’s pretty difficult to trust them when they go into a back room… and the cuts were all a mirage. … They’ve sent that message to the American people: We don’t want to solve that problem, we are happy continuing down the same path.”
Huelskamp also hit back at the possibility of Congress abolishing the debt limit – something the president has demanded as part of his sequestration deal. That, Huelskamp said, is a separate issue, as the debt limit will not be reached until January or March, whereas sequestration takes place on Jan. 1, 2013. Surrendering the debt limit, he added, would also leave the Republicans unable to challenge Obama’s agenda.
“Without a doubt, the debt ceiling is the only remaining lever we have on this president over the next four years,” he said, “and if we’re willing to give this away for a tax increase? … That’s not part of the fiscal cliff, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a separate issue.”
Though neither Huelskamp nor Amash said they knew what was next for their duties in the GOP, they did say that the showing of conservative support was impressive.
“I have never seen so much support for me and Tim” as these past few days,” Amash said.
Still, the decision, he said, is unlikely to be reversed.