On Capitol Hill, members have an expectation that their party will be there for them when they need it. So, for example, if an incumbent lawmaker is facing a tough re-election fight, he or she will count on their party to invest resources in the district or state.
But the relationship is also supposed to work both ways, and there’s an equal expectation that members will be there for their party. To that end, members are expected to pay “dues” to their relevant campaign committees – House Democrats, for example, are supposed to pony up money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which exists to recruit and elect House Democratic candidates.
The DCCC’s counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), has had some trouble lately collecting dues from members who’d rather not pony up. Members have their own reasons, but Politico reports today on one recalcitrant member in particular.
[New Jersey Rep. Scott Garrett] has angered GOP leaders and many members of the committee. He voted against Boehner’s bid for another term as speaker, bucked leadership on a critical procedural vote and has refused to pay National Republican Congressional Committee dues.Garrett first responded that his procedural vote against leadership was a matter of conscience. Then he stunned the room with this explanation: He had not supported the NRCC in the past, he said, because it actively recruited gay candidates and supported homosexuals in primaries.
Yes, a House GOP lawmaker from New Jersey is convinced that the National Republican Congressional Committee is just too friendly towards gay people.
Remember, in the Republican National Committee’s post-2012 autopsy, party officials said Republicans need to appeal to “gay Americans and demonstrate we care about them, too.”
Apparently, some in the party not only feel differently, they’re willing to withhold party dues in protest.
Garrett, a member of the right-wing “House Freedom Caucus,” isn’t entirely alone on this front. Two years ago, Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) voiced opposition to NRCC support for two openly gay House candidates – both ended up losing – but at the time, the Virginian didn’t take the extra step of withholding financial support to the party itself.
New Jersey’s Garrett has not only gone further, he’s still talking about it.
Indeed, Garrett apparently feels so strongly about his opposition to gay Republicans that his posture on dues hasn’t changed much. According to Politico’s reporting, the Garden State congressman has “agreed to donate to the NRCC’s building fund and recount efforts, but not to the committee directly.”
Presumably, if Republicans embraced discrimination with renewed vigor, Garrett would open his wallet a little wider?