U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, has cast himself as a maverick who is representing the wishes of his district, even if it cost him spots on the House agriculture and budget committees. “I don’t regret speaking for what I believe and what I’ve heard in 140 town halls in the last two years,” he said at a recent meeting in Cottonwood Falls. But former Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal, who is now CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, said that “in a political, democratic process, at the end of the day, something has to get accomplished. You can be irrelevant if you say there’s not set of circumstances where you’ll compromise.” But the National Journal’s Ben Terris noted in an article headlined “There May Be No Way to Silence Republican Outcast Tim Huelskamp” that it only takes 17 defecting Republicans in the House to derail a bill. “The fact is, although Huelskamp may speak with (and sometimes for) only a small group of Republicans, at this point, that may be all it takes to throw a wrench in the gears,” Terris wrote. “Already, 12 people decided not to vote for Boehner as speaker. Huelskamp, of course, was one of them.” Huelskamp told Terris: “I think it was the least I could do to the speaker to return the favor. We wanted to send a message that we are frustrated, all across the conference.”
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