Some conservative House Republicans plan to break away from the Republican Study Committee to form a competing organization aimed at pushing the House Republican Caucus to the right, according to the National Journal.
The de facto leader of the breakaway group for now is a former RSC chairman, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan. The group, which does not yet have an official name, is expected to include more than 30 lawmakers. Of them will be Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, who last year was defeated by Rep. Bill Flores of Texas in an election contest for the RSC chairmanship.
Members making this "mass exodus" from the RSC are meeting with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to discuss their plans, the National Journal reported.
Although Cruz himself
was not involved in forming the new House group, his chief of staff, Paul Teller, was fired as RSC executive director in December 2013 after clashing repeatedly with House Republican leaders.
The National Journal called formation of the group "a direct rebuke" to Flores, who defeated Mulvaney for the RSC chairmanship last year following a campaign in which the Texan said he does not regard the group's core mission as putting pressure on the Republican leadership.
But the intra-Republican tensions involving the RSC go further back. Rep. Steve Scalise —
now the House majority whip —
fired Teller, angering some members.
Among those who came to Teller's defense was conservative nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin, who called the move "nothing short of a purge." Levin said Teller's ouster illustrated how Scalise "has single-handedly destroyed the RSC" and why House Speaker John Boehner "needs to go."
Flores said this week that he is not worried over the divisions, calling the RSC the only group capable of outlining policy and influencing House floor votes.
But the internecine conservative/Republican warfare over the future of the RSC shows no signs of letting up. Hot Air blogger Noah Rothman said Tuesday that while RSC critics have a point in their complaints about the Republican leadership, they made a mistake by leaving the group.
The critics' work to be the leadership's "conservative conscience will now "be far more difficult as these members have intentionally sidelined themselves," Rothman argued.
By creating "a sequestered group that achieves nothing more than self-validation and facilitates only the nursing of grievances, these conservative members have embraced marginalization," he added.
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