Speaker of the House John Boehner acknowledged Wednesday that he punished two Republicans who opposed his re-election by stripping them of committee assignments.
Reps. Daniel Webster and Richard Nugent, both Republicans, lost their seats on the House Rules Committee hours after voting for someone else for speaker on Tuesday. In total, 25 Republicans voted against Boehner.
“Because of some of the activities on the floor,” Boehner explained in a Wednesday news conference, “two of our members weren’t put back on the committee immediately.”
Referencing the vote, Boehner said he plans to talk to his members about how to unify as the new session of Congress heats up.
“We’re going to have a family conversation,” Boehner said. “Which we had this morning about bringing our team together. And I expect that those conversations over the next couple of days will continue.”
As The Daily Caller reported Tuesday, Boehner is punishing dissenters despite previously saying he wouldn’t do so to Republicans who voted for someone else for speaker.
Asked last week if any Republicans who voted against Boehner would be punished, spokesman Michael Steel told TheDC: “Boehner has said publicly that there will be no retribution for ‘no’ votes.”
In September, USA Today reported that Boehner “shot down fresh rumors that he will face a revolt from conservatives when he seeks a third term as speaker in January, and he dismissed suggestions that his leadership team would strip committee assignments from any GOP lawmaker who voted against him.”
“I just don’t think it’s necessary,” Boehner said of punishing dissenters.
Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, who voted against Boehner, has chided the speaker for punishing no-votes.
“It would be a shame if the Speaker of the House, who has so much power, is a sore winner,” Gohmert said.
For his part, Webster, who received a dozen votes for speaker, said after the vote he was “humbled” by the support but says he supports Boehner as speaker.
“He is a personal friend who I have come to know and admire during my tenure in the House and I pledge to work alongside him,” Webster said. “With leadership elections behind us, and a willing partner in the Senate, our conference is united in reforming the way Washington works, opening up our government and advancing pro-growth, principled solutions.”