The House Freedom caucus is continuing with its ultraconservative methods of going against the Obama administration and against the Republican leadership in hopes that they will push the House further to the right.
They have been waging an open revolt against soon to be former Speaker of House John Boehner and have launched an effort to make him resign. In addition, they threatened to withhold voting for Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, making him drop out of the race for the Speakership position.
Their aim is to solidify the Party’s discipline, but their tactics seem to be backfiring, because they are systematically weakening the membership with creating a dead point in their every decision. Their tactics may well allow House Democrats to have more influence instead.
According to Reuters, California Representative Tom McClintock stated that the caucus is killing the party’s ability to run the House and instead helps Democrats. He stated “The Freedom Caucus has shattered the long-standing precedent that the majority party selects the speaker and decides which bills will be voted on. Their effort may well be to move the political center of gravity in the House dramatically to the left. That could be very damaging for Republican prospects in the next election.”
With only around 40 members, the House Freedom Caucus is relatively new. It was only founded in January and the membership is kept secret. They may not be seen as necessarily more conservative in comparison to other Republicans in the House, but they consider themselves as the conscience of the leadership that ought to stay true to its right ideology. The origin of the Republican Freedom Caucus can be traced in the conservative Republican Study Committee group that has been leading the conservative Republicans for over a decade. Most of the hard core conservatives that belong to the caucus are wealthy Republican legislators, predominantly white, middle aged and male and have had lengthy careers before Washington.
They seem very comfortable using such extreme tactics as to risking a government shutdown in order to put their beliefs forward. They nearly shutdown the government in February over President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration and most recently they pushed for defunding Planned Parenthood.
The secrecy of their membership stems from the idea that if they vote as a block they would be able to stop the Republican leadership from getting the votes needed to pass legislation without Democratic help.
According to Reuters, the caucus also known as the “hell no caucus” has made it their practice to refuse to compromise and has set an agenda to make sure that Republican leaders carry out a conservative mandate given by their voters. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Representative and chairman of the caucus said that the leaders are “not doing what voters sent them here to do. Our leadership has consistently failed to make the argument for conservative principles and ceded the field to Obama on key issues.”
The members of the Republican Freedom Caucus seem to have a mindset that tells them to avoid getting things done and the spotlight makes them seem frustrated and inexperienced. With their stubborn tactics they might as well start the breakdown of the GOP.