GOP reinstates punished lawmaker

GOP reinstates punished lawmaker

Facing enormous blowback, Oversight Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzHouse Dems seek to make officials feel the pain Lawmakers contemplate a tough political sell: Raising their pay Top Utah paper knocks Chaffetz as he mulls run for governor: ‘His political career should be over’ MORE (R-Utah) on Thursday reversed course and said he was reinstating Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - After GOP infighting, Trump Jr. agrees to testify again On The Money: House chairman issues subpoenas for Trump's tax returns | Trump touts trade talks as China, US fail to reach deal | Five things to know about Trump's trade war with China | GOP offers support for Trump on tariffs GOP offers support for Trump on China tariffs 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.

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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 BuckRepublicans offer 'free market alternative' to paid family leave The 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions 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.