House GOP demotes NC member who defied leaders on trade vote, but lawmaker defends his choice

Associated Press

House Republican leaders have demoted another defiant colleague in their bid to impose party discipline on procedural votes.

Second-term Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina lost his subcommittee chairmanship shortly after Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) expressed anger over rank-and-file Republicans voting against party-backed "rules" governing individual bills.

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Such votes traditionally divide along partisan lines and are seen as matters of party loyalty.

Meadows was among 34 Republicans who voted against a recent rule that allowed consideration of "fast track" trade negotiating powers for President Barack Obama. GOP leaders support the bill.

House oversight committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (CHAY'-fits) of Utah said he alone decided to remove Meadows as chairman of the Government Operations Subcommittee.

Meadows said in a statement: "No one should be punished for voting their conscience and representing their constituents."