Washington Prowler

Pelosi-Like Republicans

Playing hardball against critics of the "Compromised Tax Bill."

By 12.17.10

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Before its passage late last night, Republican leadership in the House of Representatives grew nervous Thursday about mounting opposition to what some conservatives were calling the "Compromised Tax Bill." So nervous in fact that they were considering what one member of the Republican Steering Committee called "Pelosi-like" tactics to force GOP lawmakers into supporting the tax bill.

During a Steering Committee meeting yesterday, according to sources present in the room, Rep. Dave Camp, who was recently selected by the steering committee to be chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, suggested that he would support revoking appointments to his committee of any Republican member who did not vote for the tax plan, which was larded down with earmarks and sweeteners to gain the support of the White House and Democrats in the Senate and House.

Camp's suggestion, according to sources, was supported by incoming House majority leader Eric Cantor, who also lent support to the notion that appointments to other committees beyond Ways and Means might also be pulled from Republicans who did not support the bill.

"This was not just about Ways and Means," said a House staffer with knowledge of the meeting. "House Republican leadership is willing to arm-twist just about any member it could on this vote, whether it's Judiciary or Energy and Commerce."

Presumed Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner was less supportive of the idea, simply telling the gathering that Camp's proposal was something that might have to be considered.

For months, Republicans chastised House Democrat leadership for its lack of transparency and demands that its majority vote lock step with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the Obama Administration.

"Now that those votes have doomed the Democrats to minority status in the House, and those policies have doomed the Obama presidency, we have the Republican leadership trying to bail both out with a deeply flawed bill," said a House member. "And worse, they are willing to attack their own membership to help the other side get a win. We haven't actually led one single day and already we're managing to screw it up."

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