‘Freedom Caucus’ includes Virginians Brat and Morgan Griffith; here’s the list of 36

GOP elephants fightingBy Lynn R. Mitchell

With the turmoil on the Republican side of the aisle in the U.S. House of Representatives, questions have been asked about the 36 who are members of the “Freedom Caucus,” the tea party-inspired group that has stonewalled GOP leadership and demanded government shut-downs . Who are they?

Wikipedia has what is reported to be an accurate list of the 36 members that includes Dave Brat — no surprise there — but it also includes a name that I was not expecting to see: Morgan Griffith in the 9th Congressional District (see list here). I checked last week with his district representative for confirmation but did not receive a response.

A Facebook political acquaintance noted:

“There are many caucuses but the Freedom Caucus is unique because of their rules. If 80% of the membership agrees, then they are all committed to voting as a bloc. This gives them the power to deny a majority to GOP leaders and for legislative rules. It also gives them the power to shut down the government. They succeeded in October 2013 before the FC was established. A Speaker has to negotiate with them, and they will not compromise. They will vote for the Democrats, and they proved that in defeating the Ryan Plan.”

Two members of the minority Freedom Caucus, Tom McClintock of California and Reid Ribble of Wisconsin, resigned in the past few weeks, reportedly because they thought the caucus went too far in their tactics.

The known members are:

Jim Jordan, Ohio, Chairman
Justin Amash, Michigan
Brian Babin, Texas
Rob Blum, Iowa
Dave Brat, Virginia
Jim Bridenstine, Oklahoma
Mo Brooks, Alabama
Ken Buck, Colorado
Curt Clawson, Florida
Ron DeSantis, Florida
Scott Desjarlais, Tennessee
Jeff Duncan, South Carolina
John Fleming, Louisiana
Trent Franks, Arizona
Scott Garrett, New Jersey
Paul Gosar, Arizona
Morgan Griffith, Virginia
Andy Harris, Maryland
Jody Hice, Georgia
Tim Huelskamp, Kansas
Raul Labrador, Idaho
Barry Loudermilk, Georgia
Cynthia Lummis, Wyoming
Mark Meadows, North Carolina
Alex Mooney, West Virginia
Mick Mulvaney, South Carolina
Gary Palmer, Alabama
Steve Pearce, New Mexico
Scott Perry, Pennsylvania
Ted Poe, Texas
Bill Posey, Florida
Keith Rothfus, Pennsylvania
Matt Salmon, Arizona
Mark Sanford, South Carolina
David Schweikert, Arizona
Marlin Stutzman, Indiana

The Wikipedia list says it’s “unconfirmed” but a well-placed source in D.C. said the list is accurate.

As noted by a Republican activist, the Freedom Caucus is uncompromising but in pushing their my-way-or-the-highway agenda, they may have unwittingly retained John Boehner as Speaker, at least temporarily:

The reality of it is: the Freedom Caucus will not accept a candidate that isn’t in line with their strict ideological grounds and doesn’t agree wholeheartedly with their hardline tactics. What they fail to realize is that they represent a small faction of the house conference (36 members compared to 200+ other GOP members). They hold just enough to keep a mainstream candidate which the other 200+ members would support from being elected — which ensures John Boehner will remain Speaker as he won’t vacate (and can’t) until a new Speaker is elected.

Boehner’s hands are untied now — those who oppose him have been outed through their actions, so he will take a portion of the moderates and traditional GOP members, couple them with Dem votes and pass important legislation like EXIM reauthorization. Their inability to compromise will ensure that the shutdown doesn’t happen — some mildly good, bipartisan legislation is passed and we won’t have those issues dogging us next year during the presidential election.

Even Brit Hume of Fox News weighed in last week, tweeting:

“Who are the true Republicans, and whose wishes should be heeded? The [36] in Freedom Caucus, or 207 others?”

The Washington Post noted that the Freedom Caucus complained that John Boehner “wasn’t conservative enough” but then turned around and endorsed Daniel Webster or, as the Post noted, “Daniel Webster was the conservative alternative to John Boehner. But he’s not that conservative:”

The candidate who emerged as Boehner’s rival was a Florida Representative named Daniel Webster.

He was brave! — he was daring! — he was an insurgent! What he wasn’t was terribly conservative. In fact, it turns out that Webster has earned just a 56 percent rating on Heritage Action’s scorecard.

Which plays into the narrative thought by many that the Freedom Caucus is more about power than ideals. That may be proven out by the latest “concern” by FC about Paul Ryan who is proposed as the next Speaker: he is too left (see in the New York Times: Latest unease on right: Ryan is too far left). See above and the the Daniel Webster “conservative” rating. Conservative would not be the yardstick they are using to find leaders. These people cannot be satisfied. And Brat et al are dictated to by those who took them to the dance.

The question is, can they represent the rest of their constituents?

See Jeff Schapiro’s Richmond Times-Dispatch article, “Brat in step with right; out of step with everyone else.”

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