The Freedom Caucus is about to deliver its hardest McCarthy punch
« I hope…we’re not going to mount a challenge, » the Freedom Caucus representative said. Randy Weber (R-Texas) said in an interview. “It’s the most organized we’ve ever been. So why would we change it?
The group plans to push for changes that would give them power in a future Republican majority, including the power to force a vote to evict the president – the so-called ‘motion to leave the chair’. . And there’s still time to change your mind on a direct challenge from McCarthy.
Even so, if a lawmaker from the Freedom Caucus jumps into the race for speakers, some say the group of about 35 members shouldn’t join the emerging one, underscoring McCarthy’s strength within the conference.
One of the main reasons for this change is that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), perhaps the most powerful figure in the group, is now among McCarthy’s closest allies. Once a rival who leveraged his influence on the conference’s right flank to challenge the Californian as minority leader in 2018, Jordan is no longer shy about saying he’s thrilled to have a McCarthy talk.
Some members of the Freedom Caucus privately view Jordan as the only member whose influence could rally the entire group behind an opponent of McCarthy. Other conservatives, when asked about the Freedom Caucus’ disinterest in directly attacking McCarthy, simply pointed to a unified GOP behind him.
“I don’t think there’s anything interesting there,” Rep. Dan Bishop (RN.C.), an ally of Jordan. “I often say that it seems to me that Kevin has unparalleled support among [the] conference to be a speaker.
The Freedom Caucus’ burgeoning stance on a 2023 presidential vote spills over to likely future members. A House GOP candidate who met with lawmakers from the group earlier this year summed up the Freedom Caucus’ recommendation as follows: Vote your conscience. If you support McCarthy, go ahead. If you don’t, that’s fine too.
This GOP candidate, sharing candid views on condition of anonymity, expressed surprise at the Freedom Caucus’ choose your own adventure approach to the presidential vote.
Of course, the biggest caveat in the dynamics of the conference remains the size of the GOP majority after the midterms. Until House Republicans see how many seats they get in November, it’s hard to predict with certainty how they will view McCarthy.
A weaker-than-expected win – and especially a shocking failure to take the Chamber – would spark a firestorm over who was to blame. And McCarthy, at the top of the leadership food chain, would bear the brunt of it.
« A lot depends on the actual numbers, » the Freedom Caucus member representative said. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.). « There are people who prefer a different candidate, [but] they didn’t really focus on or coalesce around anyone.
Griffith said the group also recognizes that McCarthy has listened and shown more goodwill to the Freedom Caucus than any GOP leader since its launch in 2015. If McCarthy stopped listening to the group, Griffith added , « it could change things ».
In particular, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) declined to broach the subject when asked to challenge McCarthy. The sometimes tumultuous relationship between the minority leader and the brandon MAGA has stabilized in recent months; last week, she attended McCarthy’s GOP agenda rollout in Pennsylvania and sat happily behind his shoulder on stage.
The Freedom Caucus’ coolness toward a McCarthy challenger doesn’t mean they’re lacking in demands.
Some group members are even avoiding questions about their support next year altogether as they push the conference to vote on a set of rules before any leadership election is held. This plan was first reported by the Washington Examiner, which also revealed other concessions the group is seeking: ending assignments; diversify the GOP steering committee usually made up of leadership allies; and enacting a “majority of the majority” rule which states that no legislation should be introduced without the support of the majority within the conference.
Perhaps the key tenet of any Freedom Caucus-approved House rulebook is to reinstate the motion to leave the chair — the very procedural maneuver used to oust one of McCarthy’s predecessors.
Asked about the direct challenge to McCarthy, the Freedom Caucus chairman’s representative. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) pivoted to this listing.
« I can’t say anything about any of that, » Perry said of the leadership perspective, noting that the « Liberty Caucus will be part of it. But…we’re really focused on the rules package right now. And probably all of that. » person we would support for anyone in any leadership position, we are going to want to discuss this in depth and meaningfully.
Representatives. Bob Good (R-Go.) and David Schweikert (R-Arizona) copied their group’s president by redirecting questions about a McCarthy challenge to their focus on the next set of congressional rules.
“There’s almost a maturity that comes from the Freedom Caucus saying, our job is to legislate,” Schweikert said.
Management, meanwhile, didn’t tip their hats on the rules issue.
Representatives. Michael Cloud (R-Texas) and Chipie Roy (R-Texas) asked McCarthy about it at last week’s GOP conference meeting, according to a person familiar with back-and-forths, and McCarthy replied that members should focus on preparing for mid- journey.
And minority whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) publicly echoed that message when asked about the Freedom Caucus rules push.
“You see this every two years. There is always a lively discussion about what the rules should be. Again, we can’t put the cart before the horse – we have to win a majority to have that ability to have that discussion,” Scalise told reporters last week. « We are well aware of some of the things they have come up with. »
This cautious response is particularly valuable given that members of the Freedom Caucus have not decided whether the motion to vacate the chair will be a deciding factor in their support for the leadership candidates. If the group votes as a unit, it could force a close presidential election after the first ballot or even stall the contest altogether.
representing Lauren Boebert (R-Texas) said there were “definitely some red lines — especially coming out of the chair. It’s a red line. But she declined to say whether the band would bid against McCarthy, saying « we’ll see. »
While Boebert has publicly criticized McCarthy on several occasions, even suggesting that Donald Trump should be a speaker in the past, she has privately expressed more allegiance to the California Republican behind closed doors, according to two Republicans familiar with her remarks.
Good called the power to force a speaker’s eviction a « very important part of this set of rules », but also avoided any rigid insistence.
« If everything else that I’ve described has been accepted — again, I don’t think we want to come and say, ‘oh, those are absolutes,' » Good said. « It’s not scripture. »