Subcommittee Chair Who Was Trying to Be Nicer to Feds Removed After Trade Vote

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. J. Scott Applewhite/AP file photo

After just six months as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform panel’s Government Operations Subcommittee, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., was removed over the weekend by the committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah., in apparent retaliation for Meadows’ recent procedural vote against granting the president fast-track trade negotiating authority.

A committee spokesman on Monday confirmed the move to Government Executive, and Meadows’ photo is now replaced by a blank space on the subcommittee website, alongside ranking member Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.

Meadows commented on Twitter, “My voting card belongs to the people of Western North Carolina, & I will continue to listen to their voices regardless of the consequences.”

The conservative advocacy group Heritage Action for America put out a protest statement, noting that the defenestration of Meadows, who had garnered an 87 percent rating in the group’s vote studies, followed removal of three other House Republicans from the whip team after last week’s trade vote.

“The alliance between congressional leadership and the special interests that run Washington was on full display this weekend,” said Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham. “Instead of working with conservatives, the Republican party leadership worked with Nancy Pelosi and then punished conservatives for not going along. Mark Meadows was right to stand by his constituents. For all the talk about ‘broadening the party’ it appears conservatives are now unwelcome.”

In his short time as subcommittee chairman, Meadows sought to improve relations between Congress and the federal workforce, and between employees and their agencies.

“Ranking member [Connolly] and I believe focusing on the great workforce that we have is critical,” Meadows said during an April hearing on low morale among federal workers. “We’ve agreed to go out and meet with the rank and file on a regular basis to hear from them so…the message is out there today there is at least one Democrat and Republican willing to look at what matters most to the hundreds of thousands of federal workforce employees that serve our public every day.”

Meadows also sought to ensure that federal employees who are engaged in misconduct or performing poorly are held accountable. He has championed bills making it easier to fire misbehaving employees in general, and targeting specific problems, such as watching pornography at work.

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