Facing enormous blowback, Oversight Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzCongress's latest hacking investigation should model its most recent Fox News Audio expands stable of podcasts by adding five new shows The myth of the conservative bestseller MORE (R-Utah) on Thursday reversed course and said he was reinstating Rep. Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsJan. 6 panel threatens Meadows with contempt Trump considered withdrawing Kavanaugh nomination over beer comments, being 'too apologetic': Meadows book Meadows reverses, won't agree to Jan. 6 panel deposition MORE (R-N.C.) as a subcommittee chairman.
Chaffetz stripped Meadows of his subcommittee gavel last week after the congressman joined nearly three dozen other conservatives in voting against leadership on a procedural motion that nearly scuttled a major trade package.
Last week’s move was part of a pattern of punishment targeting conservatives who have defied leadership on important votes.
But Chaffetz, the new Oversight chairman, soon came under heavy fire from prominent voices on the right, including Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who’s running for president.
In a tweet, Levin called Chaffetz “a sanctimonious fraud.”
By Thursday, Chaffetz had backpedaled, saying that a number of colleagues had urged him to reconsider his decision.
“Having spoken with Mark Meadows several times during the past week, I think we both better understand each other. I respect Mark and his approach. The discussions and candor have been healthy and productive,” Chaffetz said in a statement.
“Ultimately, I believe we both want to do what is best for the country. Obviously I believe in Mark Meadows or I would not have appointed him to this position in the first place. It is in the best interest of the Committee to move forward together.”
Chaffetz’s decision follows a separate move by the House GOP freshman class, which on Thursday morning decided against stripping Rep. Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckSununu exit underscores uncertain GOP path to gain Senate majority Matt Stoller: Amazon's Bezos likely lied under oath before Congress Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE (R-Colo.) of his title as class president.
Earlier in the week, Meadows had been defiant, threatening that members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus might band together to block leadership-backed bills from reaching the floor or even try to oust Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) from power.
After Chaffetz’s reversal Thursday, Meadows vowed to work with the chairman, though he stressed that he would continue to vote in the best interests of his district.
"I greatly appreciate Chairman Jason Chaffetz' willingness to reconsider his decision, as well as my Oversight and Government Reform Committee colleagues' support,” Meadows said in a statement.
“I will 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.”
— This story was updated at 12:51 p.m.