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Freedom Caucus Reportedly Divided on How to Fight Democrats

Freedom Caucus Reportedly Divided on How to Fight Democrats
Rep Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., during a House Freedom Caucus press conference about immigration issues, at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 30 March 2021 10:20 AM EDT

The House Freedom Caucus reportedly is showing cracks in its unity.

Some caucus members, led by Chair Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., have employed delay tactics on the floor to protest Democrat policies. But along with upsetting the opposition party, the stalling efforts have also frustrated some fellow conservatives, Politico reported Tuesday.

Critics within the Freedom Caucus reportedly see the tactics as a failure to act strategically. They believe only a few select bills should be targeted to get the most significant impact.

They also warn fellow caucus members that Democrats could respond by starting to block Republicans from using an expedited process to advance their own non-controversial bills.

But the group siding with Biggs believe they need to deploy every procedural weapon at their disposal to live up to what is expected of them by voters.

Although the GOP currently remains in the minority, the margin between them and the majority is only a few seats and some caucus members have expressed concerns about their group's ability to stay united if Republicans win back the House next year.

"We've got to get back to collegial operations here," one Freedom Caucus member said. "Some of the rhetoric needs to die down. I'm really ready for us to work together."

The member added, if the floor delay efforts go "on much longer, I’ll probably share my opinion with [caucus leaders.]"

Originally created to push more moderate GOP leadership toward conservative positions, the Freedom Caucus developed into some of former President Donald Trump's most loyal supporters. How the caucus goes forward in the post-Trump era remains in question.

"There's some real concern among the Freedom Caucus that it lacks a long-term vision," a senior Republican aide said. "There doesn't seem to be an organized legislative plan or agenda — only sporadic press conferences and news releases. It could be argued that this has divided the caucus more than ever before."

Still, some insist the present division within the caucus is minor, and only based on when to use delay tactics.

"The level of division is whether to use it on every single bill or to withhold it on some bills," one Freedom Caucus member said. "If you say unconditionally, 'we're using [our power] on every motion,' there's no negotiation possible. So that's been the breakdown — is whether to object to everything or some things."

Several GOP lawmakers told Politico the caucus' roughly 40 members met recently to debate on using the tactic in blanket fashion or on a more limited basis.

Caucus co-founder Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, has steered clear of recent public antics by members.

Some representatives have begun leaving the chamber when fellow caucus members force floor votes on motions to adjourn.

Caucus members first began slowing down House business after House Democrat leaders provided few GOP amendment opportunities and started using metal detectors outside the floor after the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.

"The issue with the motions to adjourn and other sort of parliamentary procedures are frustrating some members, but not enough to create some separatist movement or a coup d'etat against Andy Biggs," one caucus member said.

The member added Biggs "has other strengths," such as a better relationship with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., than that of his Freedom Caucus predecessor, former Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.

A Biggs spokesman declined to comment on the Freedom Caucus' internal disagreements.

The Freedom Caucus, which only takes a formal position on an issue after earning support from 80 percent of members, played a significant role during the House GOP's last years in the majority, when members stuck together to strong-arm leadership.

Floor procedure is not the first issue on which caucus members have disagreed, however.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Ken Buck, R-Colo., did not support challenging the Electoral College certification of President Joe Biden.

Caucus members also needed time to agree to accept Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., as a member.

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The House Freedom Caucus reportedly is showing cracks in its unity. Some caucus members, led by Chair Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.,...
freedomcaucus, congress, house, conservative
Tuesday, 30 March 2021 10:20 AM
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