Republican lawmakers must make every effort to push away from House Freedom Caucus hardliners if they want to restore order on Capitol Hill, Rep. Charlie Dent tells Newsmax TV.
"The Freedom Caucus, typically, does represent the more rejectionist wing of the party," Dent, a moderate Pennsylvania Republican, said Friday on "The Hard Line" with Ed Berliner.
"There are other members unfortunately who sometimes will be pushed in the direction of the Freedom Caucus and that's what we have to work on.
"Trying to get those other 100 or so members moving in the right direction, which they typically do."
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The House Freedom Caucus, considered by some as a spinoff of the tea party movement, is seen by rank-and-file chamber Republicans as a noisy fringe element of the GOP, which clogs the legislature by opposing anything it doesn't believe in, at any cost.
The GOP struggled Friday to calm the chaos that erupted when Rep. Kevin McCarthy — expected to be voted to replace outgoing House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday — suddenly said he didn't want the job.
Conservatives — some of whom belong to the Freedom Caucus — have claimed credit for both Boehner's resignation and McCarthy's bow out.
Dent believes the Republican-led House can get back track, although it will take some serious outreach to its members.
"I've often said there are 200 members of the House Republican conference who do have an affirmative sense of governance and understand the responsibilities to get things done," he said.
Berliner asked Dent if the Republican Party is so unbalanced it is now "eating its young, old and everyone in between."
"I would say right now the issue is obviously we're going through a very turbulent time," Dent said.
"Fundamentally what this goes down to is this: do we have the capacity for governance? Many of my colleagues and I are having this discussion about [how] the next speaker must restore functionality through the House of Representatives.
"What I try to point out to everyone who will listen, is that in order to pass important legislation we typically need a bipartisan coalition to get those bills through the House."
Dent said Republicans have a duty to demonstrate they can successfully work through the most basic functions of government.
"That is keep it operating, keep it funded and make sure we don't default on our obligations. Very basic things," he said.
"To the extent that we fail in our ability to function, the American people will judge us very harshly.
"I am imploring my colleagues on my side of the aisle and certainly on the Democratic aisle too that we have to demonstrate that we can pass the bills that we must pass."
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