Under the Dome

GOP leaders end punishment of conservative Rep. Mark Meadows of western NC

U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows has his gavel back as a subcommittee chairman.

Meadows got the post back on Thursday after fellow conservatives on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee objected to House Republican leaders’ move to punish him for voting against leadership earlier this month and not paying up to support his party’s campaign arm.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the chairman of the committee who removed Meadows from the chairmanship, announced he’d changed course.

The Washington news organization Politico reported on Thursday that Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, spent the week canvassing support for Meadows. Jordan is the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservatives. Meadows, who’s from Glenville, is a founding member of the caucus.

The majority of the mostly conservative committee wanted Meadows back as chairman of the Government Operations Subcommittee and told Chaffetz so in a committee meeting Wednesday night, Politico reported.

“Last week I announced a change in the Government Operations subcommittee chairmanship. A number of people have asked me to reconsider that decision,” Chaffetz said in a statement Thursday. He said he felt “it is in the best interest of the committee to move forward together” and so he asked Meadows to remain subcommittee chairman.

Meadows said in a statement he was glad to get the job back and would “continue to vote and conduct myself in accordance with my conscience, what my constituents want me to do, and what is best for the country.”

Meadows was one of 34 Republicans who voted against a procedural motion on June 11 that paved the way for a vote on giving President Barack Obama fast-track trade authority. Republican leaders support the trade deal. Meadows also voted against Rep. John Boehner, R -Ohio, as speaker in January.

Politico said the episode over the subcommittee chairmanship was all a failure to follow the rules in the first place:

“Rule 19 (a) (1) of the House Republican Conference rules state that a committee chair can select his chairmen ‘unless a majority of the Republican Members of the full Committee disapprove the action of the chair.’”

The majority was with Meadows. Politico said the reversal “could embolden the several dozen conservative Republicans who defy” Boehner and other Republican House leaders.