The House Freedom Caucus is a group started this year that consists of about 40 of the most conservative members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The group’s lack of support for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to become speaker of the House is believed to have played a role in him dropping out of the race. Without the support from some of the group, he could not have gotten to the 218 votes he needed to replace House Speaker John Boehner.
Here’s a look at 5 things to know about this group and the impact they have on the House:
1 Area Congressman Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, leads the Freedom Caucus. Jordan comes from Ohio’s 4th District which includes area counties of Champaign, Shelby, and Auglaize but spreads north through farmland, Mansfield and all the way to the Cleveland suburbs. Jordan used to lead the Republican Study Group. Jordan has voted for Boehner as speaker, but took on the leadership of the majority. Oddly, both Boehner and Jordan’s districts share part of Mercer County and share some common borders. A recent Rolling Stone article said “Jordan’s command of House rules empowers him to run unconventional plays — thrusting his right-wing bloc to the center of the most contentious policy debates in Washington.” Read that full article here
2 In the race to replace John Boehner as speaker, the Freedom Caucus has put its support behind former Florida House Speaker Daniel Webster. Though Webster has the support of the Freedom Caucus, he’s considered a longshot for speaker because the bulk of the House GOP is unlikely to support him.
3 The caucus routinely fights with Republican leadership in the House. Some of the most recent issues involved funding the Department of Homeland Security earlier this year. Recently members of the caucus have also supported defunding Planned Parenthood, even if it means shutting down the federal government. Here’s a look at our coverage of the Planned Parenthood hearings and Congressman Jordan’s questioning of Planned Parenthood’s director
4 While not technically a third party, the Freedom Caucus has the traits of one. The group takes on GOP House leadership as much as it takes on Democrats. The mission statement of the group states that the caucus “gives a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them. We support open, accountable and limited government, the Constitution and the rule of law.”
5 Jordan has said, like presidential candidates such as Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, that Republican congressional leaders have given in to President Barack Obama too much. The Freedom Caucus, which supports a lot of the same issues as the tea party movement, is part of the growing number of Republicans that are looking for outside leadership. For example the top three Republican presidential candidates right now, Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina have never held elected office. That trend matches up with what is going on in the House. There’s a lot of Republicans saying out with the old and in with something new. In a recent interview with us, Jordan said “This is a moment to change and do what we said we would do, plain and simple.” Read more on that interview here.
By the way, Jordan has said he has no plans to run for speaker of the House.