Life has been a bit miserable for members of the GOP since the Democrats routed them in October 2018’s elections. But now, thanks to the House Freedom Caucus, it’s about to become more miserable for Democrats and left-leaning Republicans. If the Freedom Caucus has its way, that is.
The caucus is now in cahoots with House GOP leaders, helping them to learn how to practice the same rebellious tactics that conservative formerly used to create dissension in their own party, Politico reports.
“You’re in the minority — your choice is either swim together or sink together,” said Rep. Mark Walker, vice chairman of the House Republican Conference. “Next thing, they’ll be having drinks together.”
And when caucus members protested a Democratic measure to denounce the shutdown, it caused floor action to grind to an hours-long standstill earlier this week.
They did it with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s support, Politico notes.
McCarthy (R-Calif.), it seems, isn’t one for holding grudges. McCarthy and Freedom Caucus chief Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) are jointly planning their lines of attack and political stunts, even though the archly conservative group tried to oust him as House leader two months ago.
Fortunately, the House GOP won’t really have the wherewithal to defeat Democratic legislation this year, but they can turn themselves into nuisances by delaying that legislation, however. Freedom Caucus members are experts at this, having honed this practice for five years. And now that other GOP members are joining the ranks, House Democrats will face more hurdles.
“I can come up with all kinds of creative ways to slow down the floor progress,” Meadows said. “Those creative ways are being used in a unified way in the minority.”
That means you can still have some effect even if you’re in the minority and don’t really have control of the legislation.
“But you still have a plethora of options in the toolbox,” he said.
There can be a price to pay for these tactics, however. One that House GOP leaders may come to regret.
The Freedom Caucus has garnered a lot of the blame for pressuring President Donald Trump to shutter the government last month. The shutdown became the longest one in U.S. history and ended after Trump caved in. Even if only temporarily so. But as Politico writers Sarah Ferris and Melanie Zanona report this is further evidence that the Freedom Caucus can dish it out, but can’t really take it.
Even so, Meadows and his colleague Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) are being increasingly supported by Republican leadership after years of leading internal infighting within the ranks. And now it seems GOP leaders no longer wish to sweep their more conservative counterparts under the rug.
McCarthy and his staff hope to incorporate Jordan’s aggressive style and Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney is helping to coordinate attacks to fend off the likely onslaught of Democrats hoping to investigate Trump.
“I got along with them beforehand,” McCarthy said, although this didn’t necessarily include leaders of the caucus.
“You need the conference to work as one. You work as one, we’re stronger,” McCarthy said. “I feel we’re very unified.”
Let’s hope the Democrats are paying attention. Because this could be very bad news for the rest of us. And if you’re curious about the Freedom Caucus, the video below gives a good overview of the group.
Featured image by BostWiki via YouTube video