Given their past track record, I’m not holding my breath:
Dozens of members of the House GOP’s most conservative faction plan to meet Tuesday to discuss ways to counteract the decision of House Speaker John Boehner and other leaders to seek retribution against members who vote against must-pass measures. The House Freedom Caucus, a GOP group made up of about 40 of the most conservative members, plans to hold the discussion some time after Tuesday’s evening votes, according to lawmakers familiar with the initiative.
Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Monday in a radio interview that many conservatives were “fed up” with the string of punishment meted out to members who don’t vote in line with the Republican leadership on key legislation. The latest punishment was handed down to Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., for voting against an important procedural resolution to advance “Fast Track” trade legislation the GOP is eager to pass. Meadows last week was stripped of his chairmanship of the House Oversight Government Operations subcommittee.
It didn’t take long for the junior wing of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party to show its true colors after the sham election of 2014 and go right back to being Obama’s lackeys and lickspittles. The primary campaign against Boehner in his Ohio home district ought to start right now. And I told you the nation would have been better off had McConnell lost his seat; now we’re stuck with this turtle until 2020.
It’s not clear what the frustrated group could do to thwart Boehner, but some are kicking around the idea of trying to slow the work of the House. Freedom Caucus members say that while they number a little more than three dozen, there are an additional 20 conservatives who could potentially vote along with them if they decided to take a stand against the leadership by making it difficult to pass legislation.
That’s telling ’em!
UPDATE: There may be a little bite to their bark after all:
The House Freedom Caucus has a secret it wants to share with Democrats.
“If the Democrats were to file a motion to vacate the chair and were to vote for that motion unanimously, there probably are 218 votes for it to succeed,” one member of the House Freedom Caucus told CQ Roll Call Tuesday night, as he exited an meeting in the basement of Tortilla Coast.
If that’s true, Democrats could certainly use a vote to remove Speaker John A. Boehner as leverage in any number of upcoming battles: the Export-Import Bank, a highway bill, all sorts of spending measures. But absent any real talk from Democrats, the official response from Boehner’s communications director, Kevin Smith, was simply to dismiss CQ Roll Call’s reporter. “Matt Fuller is a prop for Freedom Caucus propaganda,” Smith wrote via email.
While the HFC member in question wouldn’t say whether a vote to take Boehner’s gavel was part of the discussion Tuesday — and other members said it was not — it’s clear the decision to strip North Carolina Republican Mark Meadows of his subcommittee chairmanship has stirred the already excitable Freedom Caucus into a new frenzy.
As the man says: punch back twice as hard.