"Cynthia knew going into the rule vote last week that being a member of the whip team has certain parameters," Joe Spiering said. "She understands his decision and departs the Whip organization with nothing but the utmost respect for Mr. Scalise and his entire organization."
Franks said he has no hard feelings toward Scalise or leadership, and noted that "if I had been in their place, I might have done the same thing."
"It was one of the most conflicted votes I've had for a couple of years now, or more," Franks said. "This was a vote that I didn't want to make, and yet I felt like I was doing the right thing."
Pearce, for his part, said: "Not much has changed in the House. I came here to represent the people of the 2nd Congressional District of New Mexico. That means considering each vote on its merits and striving to do the right thing for them. Sometimes that demands casting hard votes, as I did last week. I always strive to vote on principle and that won't change."
The behind-the-scenes GOP infighting is playing out as Republicans place the blame on the failure to pass Trade Adjustment Assistance on President Obama and the House Democrats who abandoned him. But it makes clear that Republicans have their own problems, which are hampering their ability to legislate.
Those close to Speaker John Boehner have long pushed their leaders to drop the hammer on members who do not act as team players, a fight that has gone back to the beginning of the year, when two dozen members voted against Boehner for speaker.
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But Boehner has by and large shied away from public displays of disunity, choosing instead to exact subtle retribution behind closed doors. Those members say they have found it harder to get their bills considered and have received less fundraising help from the party infrastructure.
Nevertheless, Boehner publicly noted the frustration Tuesday morning. "I'm not very happy about it," Boehner told reporters. "And I made it pretty clear to the members today I was not very happy. We're a team. And we've worked hard to get the majority, we've worked hard to stay in the majority, and I expect our team to act like a team. And I, frankly, made it pretty clear I wasn't very happy."
In a private meeting preceding the press conference, Boehner gave his conference a "stern talking-to" about getting with the team, because the alternative is putting Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in charge, according to a member in the room.
But conservative members still are fuming that Boehner negotiated with Pelosi rather than acquiescing to demands from the Freedom Caucus, who wanted some assurances on the trade-bill process and others relating to an upcoming vote on the Export-Import Bank in exchange for their votes on Trade Promotion Authority.