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Boehner: GOP Members May Not Be Kicked Off the Rules Committee

"...two of our members weren't put back on the committee immediately..."

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday that there have been no final decisions on whether two Republicans will be kicked off of the House Rules Committee because they voted against Boehner for House Speaker on Tuesday.

Boehner told reporters Wednesday morning that Reps. Richard Nugent (R-Fla.) and Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) are temporarily off the committee because that committee had to be formed early in the week to deal with legislation, just as the speaker votes were happening. Boehner wanted to talk to the two members before deciding their fate.

"We had a situation yesterday where we had to constitute the Rules Committee, but because of some of the activities on the floor, two of our members weren't put back on the committee immediately," Boehner said.

"I had not had a chance to talk to them, and I had not had a chance to talk to our members," he said. "But this morning, I told the members the same thing I'm saying here. We're going to have a family conversation, which we had this morning, about bringing our team together."

"And I expect that those conversations over the next couple days will continue, and we'll come to a decision about how we go forward," he said.

News that Nugent and Webster were off the committee was widely seen as an effort by Boehner to seek revenge for their votes against him. But the nature of the Rules Committee is such that votes against the speaker would naturally call into question whether those members can still serve on Rules.

The Rules Committee is also known as the Speaker's Committee, and its task is to translate the will of the speaker into legislation and a process for passing that legislation. For that reason, the committee has traditionally been a body comprised of members who are loyal to the leadership of both parties — in many ways, less of a "plum" assignment, and one reserved for members willing to grind out the wishes of the majority.

As a result, Nugent and Webster at least raise the question of whether they can still be counted on by GOP leaders to serve on Rules.

Boehner was also asked about another personnel issue — whether Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) should continue to serve as House Majority Whip after allegations that he spoke at a white supremacists event years ago. Scalise has said he made a mistake by not fully vetting the group he spoke to, and Boehner indicated he was not considering getting rid of Scalise.

"I know this man, I work with him," Boehner said. "I know what's in his heart. He's a decent, honest person who made a mistake. We've all made mistakes."

One last thing…
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