Rand Paul targets Paul Ryan for ‘purge’ of House conservatives

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W. James Antle III Managing Editor
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Add Rep. Paul Ryan to the list of House Republican leaders under fire for removing conservatives from key congressional committees.

A fundraising email sent by Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul urges supporters to sign a petition protesting the move, targeting the party’s 2012 vice presidential nominee and House Budget Committee chairman, as well as Speaker of the House John Boehner.

“The petition urges John Boehner and Paul Ryan to stop purging fiscal conservatives from committee assignments, and to reinstate the four already purged from their positions,” reads the message from RAND PAC, Rand Paul’s political action committee.

Rand Paul noted that “according to news reports, two of the congressmen were purged from the Budget Committee for voting for a five-year balanced budget plan — instead of Paul Ryan’s budget which balanced in 28 years.”

Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash and Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp both voted against the Ryan budget in committee last year. As a result, the spending blueprint only cleared committee by a narrow 19-18 vote.

Rand Paul has previously maintained that the Ryan plan doesn’t balance the budget or cut spending fast enough — a criticism he implicitly repeats in his latest fundraising email.  The Kentucky senator has voted against the official Republican budget on these grounds.

“It’s time for my colleagues to stop insulting American’s intelligence with tired talking points and phony ‘solutions,'” Rand Paul continued.

Rand Paul and Ryan have squared off over the budget behind closed doors. The tea party-tinged legislator also described it as “tepid” on the eve of Ryan’s acceptance speech at this year’s Republican National Convention.

Conservatives are angry that Amash, Huelskamp, North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones, and Arizona Republican Rep. David Schweikert were all removed from committee assignments for bucking the party leadership, but Boehner has gotten the brunt of the blame.

In an interview with libertarian radio talk show host Peter Schiff, Rand Paul seemed to suggest that Ryan’s presidential ambitions will suffer as a result.

“I don’t know if any of these people want to run for president — maybe they’re going to have to explain why they wanted to purge people from their committees who believe in balancing the budget,” Rand Paul said.

Like Ryan, Rand Paul is also seen as a possible candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

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