Republican coup punishes Rep. Ken Buck for his ‘no’ votes on ‘Obamatrade’

While Colorado’s political community is watching the alleged coup that attempted to remove state GOP Chair Steve House from his position, another coup is heating up in Washington, D.C.

Republican Rep. Ken Buck, who was elected chair of the 2014 freshman class, may get ousted from his leadership position this week. A special leadership meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

Buck tweeted out a series of comments this afternoon referring to the coup. “The GOP leadership is meeting in secret in an attempt to remove me as Freshman Class President. Bring it on!” Buck wrote. Moments later, a second tweet said “I will stand my ground for conservative principles.”

A third tweet followed: “We need leadership not by fear but by vision, we need to be doing the work conservatives sent us here for.” And finally, “I voted against #Obamatrade because it was the right thing to do.”

The conservative coup in Washington is related to Buck’s votes on three bills related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The first was a vote on debate rules that would govern the following day’s House action on bills related to the trade deal. Buck was a “no” vote on the rules measure. The measure passed, but locked in a provision that said a bill to provide financial assistance to those who lose their jobs had to pass in order for all of the bills to pass.

Buck also voted against the trade adjustment assistance bill, which came up on June 12. It failed by more than a 2:1 margin, meaning the following vote on fast-track authority for the president would not matter.

Buck was again a “no” vote on the fast-track authority. He was the only Republican in Colorado’s House delegation to vote against the trade-deal bills.

Through a spokesman, Buck told The Colorado Independent, “There is no way I can support ‘ObamaTrade.’  I believe in free trade, but this president has proven over and over again that he can’t be trusted to make decisions that are good for America.  He has a history of paying back his special interest friends at the expense of the rest of us.  I’m afraid he’ll put his global warming, gun control, immigration and labor agendas into future trade agreements.”

Republicans, including Speaker of the House John Boehner, have worked hard in the last two weeks finding the votes to pass the trade-deal related bills. As of today, the fast-track authority was amended by the House onto a Senate amendment on an unrelated bill.

The Senate Tuesday voted to approve fast-track authority through a procedural vote; a formal vote is expected at any time. This morning, Politico reported that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, had ended her opposition to the trade adjustment assistance bill, a major factor in its defeat on June 12. That clears the way for the bill to be amended onto another piece of legislation. Once adopted by the Senate, the trade bills would go to the President to sign.

The last opportunity for opponents to halt TPP will be when it comes back to Congress for an up-or-down vote. That will happen once negotiations among the 12 nations are concluded and a final deal is ready.

Buck clearly isn’t taking the coup lying down. Just moments ago, another tweet appeared: “R. Leaders called snap election to impeach me as Class Pres. b/c I voted against #ObamaTrade. Keep us fighting!”

has been a political journalist since 1998. She covered the state capitol for the Silver & Gold Record from 1998 to 2009 and for The Colorado Statesman in 2010-11 and 2013-14. Since 2010 she also has covered the General Assembly for newspapers in northeastern Colorado. She was recognized with awards from the Colorado Press Association for feature writing and informational graphics for her work with the Statesman in 2012.


  1. It is not surprising that PRINCIPLE has little place in Congress. Republicans are little better than Democrats. Giving Obama, whose history of unlawful, unconstitutional actions are clear, more power is like giving dynamite and matches to a child. STUPID.

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