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Two Boehner opponents removed from House Rules Committee

Florida Republicans Daniel Webster and Ted Nugent were missing from the first meeting of the House Rules Committee.

By Frances Burns
Two Boehner opponents removed from House Rules Committee
Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., seen here during a 2014 hearing, was removed from the House Rules Committee after he ran against John Boehner, R-Ohio, for speaker. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- A congressman who ran against House Speaker John Boehner and a colleague who supported him were quickly removed from the powerful Rules Committee.

The committee held its first meeting of the new session Wednesday with two empty chairs. Two Florida Republicans, Daniel Webster and Ted Nugent, were missing and even their nameplates were gone.

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Boehner, who represents an Ohio district, was elected to a third term as speaker Wednesday, receiving 216 of 408 votes. Several opponents received a few votes each from Republicans, with the group getting a total of 25 votes from the party, with 12 going to Webster. Other dissidents cast votes for Louie Gohmert of Texas, Jim Jordan of Ohio, and Ted Yoho, another Florida congressman.

While 25 votes might not seem like much, it is about twice as many as those who voted against Boehner in 2013. It also comes after he made a concerted effort to talk to his Republican colleagues and at a time when the party holds its biggest congressional majority since Herbert Hoover was president.

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Republican sources told Politico that other representatives who voted against Boehner may find themselves losing chairmanships or good committee assignments in the coming months. That could also happen to those who opposed the $1.1 trillion spending bill that guarantees the government can continue to function for the rest of the fiscal year.

The removal of Webster and Nugent from the Rules Committee, which plays a key role in determining when legislation will reach the floor and for how long it will be debated, sparked an outcry from conservatives in Congress. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, accused Boehner of "intimidation tactics" on Twitter.

Yoho attacked the speaker on Sean Hannity's Fox News show.

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"They voted the way their districts wanted to," Yoho said Tuesday night. "And to be held in jeopardy for that or retribution is wrong, because that would be something you would expect in China, Cuba, Russia or in a communist country ... to, when you have a voice of dissension, to be punished. But in America, where we honor free speech and a Constitution that protects that, we should not have to go through that."

Boehner himself hinted Wednesday that Webster and Nugent might eventually return to the Rules Committee. He said his caucus needs a "family conversation" to determine how to move forward.

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