|Chairman||Mark Meadows (NC-11)|
|Founded||January 26, 2015|
|Split from||Republican Study Committee|
|National affiliation||Republican Party|
|Seats in House Republican Conference|
33 / 237
|Seats in the House|
33 / 435
The Freedom Caucus, also known as the House Freedom Caucus, is a congressional caucus consisting of conservative and libertarian Republican members of the United States House of Representatives. It was formed in 2015 by what member Jim Jordan called a "smaller, more cohesive, more agile and more active" group of conservative Congressmen, and is currently chaired by Rep. Mark Meadows.
Many members are also part of the much larger Republican Study Committee. The caucus is sympathetic to the Tea Party movement. The Freedom Caucus is considered the farthest-right grouping within the House Republican Conference.
The origins of the caucus lie at the mid-January 2015 Republican congressional retreat in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Nine conservative active Republican members of the House began planning a new Congressional caucus separate from the Republican Study Committee and apart from the House Republican Conference. The group ultimately became the nine founding members and the first board of directors for the new caucus consisting of Republican Representatives Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Jim Jordan of Ohio, John Fleming of Louisiana, Matt Salmon of Arizona, Justin Amash of Michigan, Raúl Labrador of Idaho, Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Ron DeSantis of Florida and Mark Meadows of North Carolina.
The group debated a name for their new caucus eventually settling on "House Freedom Caucus" (HFC) because, according to founding member Mick Mulvaney, "it was so generic and universally awful that we had no reason to be against it." The group of nine founding members in Hershey set as a criterion for new members that they had to be willing to vote against Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner on legislation that the group opposed.
During the crisis over the funding of the Department of Homeland Security in early 2015, the Caucus offered four plans for resolution, but all were rejected by the Republican leadership. One of the caucus leaders, Labrador of Idaho, said the Caucus will offer an alternative that the most conservative Republican members could support.[needs update]
Speaker of the House John Boehner resignation in 2015
The House Freedom Caucus was involved in the resignation of Boehner on September 25, 2015 and the ensuing leadership battle for the new Speaker. Members of the Caucus who had voted against Boehner for Speaker felt unfairly punished, accusing him of cutting them off from positions in the Republican Study Committee and depriving them of key committee assignments. Boehner found it increasingly difficult to manage House Republicans with the fierce opposition of the Freedom Caucus, and he sparred with House Republican members in 2013 over their willingness to shut down the government in pursuit of goals such as repealing the Affordable Care Act. These members later created and became members of the Freedom Caucus when it was created in 2015.
After Boehner resigned as speaker, Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader, was initially the lead contender to succeed him, but the Freedom Caucus withheld its support. However, McCarthy withdrew from the race on September 28, 2015, after appearing to suggest that the Benghazi investigation's purpose had been to lower the approval ratings of Hillary Clinton. On the same day as McCarthy's withdrawal, Reid Ribble resigned from the Freedom Caucus saying he had joined to promote certain policies and could not support the role that it was playing in the leadership race.
On October 20, 2015, Paul Ryan announced that his bid for the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives was contingent on an official endorsement by the Freedom Caucus. While the group could not reach the 80% approval that was needed to give an official endorsement, on October 21, 2015, it announced that it had reached a supermajority support for Ryan. On October 29, 2015, Ryan succeeded John Boehner as the Speaker of the House.
On October 30, 2017, Vanity Fair published an interview with former Speaker Boehner, who said of the Freedom Caucus: "They can’t tell you what they’re for. They can tell you everything they’re against. They’re anarchists. They want total chaos. Tear it all down and start over. That’s where their mindset is."
Backlash in 2016
The group faced backlash from the Republican Party establishment during the 2016 election cycle. One of its members, Congressman Tim Huelskamp, a Tea Party Republican representing Kansas' First District, was defeated during a primary election on August 2, 2016 by Roger Marshall.
Rejection of American Health Care Act in 2017
On March 24, 2017, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the House Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, was withdrawn by Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan because it lacked the votes to pass, due in large part to opposition from Freedom Caucus Republicans.
Two days later, President Donald Trump publicly criticized the Freedom Caucus and other right-wing groups, such as the Club for Growth and Heritage Action, that opposed the bill. Trump tweeted: "Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Obamacare!" On the same day, Congressman Ted Poe of Texas resigned from the Freedom Caucus. On March 30, 2017, Trump "declared war" on the Freedom Caucus, sending a tweet urging Republicans to "fight them" in the 2018 midterm elections "if they don't get on the team" (i.e., support Trump's proposals). Vocal Freedom Caucus member Justin Amash responded by accusing Trump of "succumb[ing] to the D.C. Establishment."
Trump has since developed a closer relationship with the caucus chair, Mark Meadows. In April 2018, Trump described four caucus members – Meadows, Jim Jordan, Ron DeSantis and Matt Gaetz – as "absolute warriors" for their defense of him during the course of the Special Counsel investigation.
The House Freedom Caucus does not disclose the names of its members. In the current (115th) Congress, the group has about three dozen members. A number of members have identified themselves, or have been identified by others, as members of the Freedom Caucus, as of July 2018[update] including:
- Justin Amash of Michigan
- Joe Barton of Texas
- Andy Biggs of Arizona
- Rod Blum of Iowa
- Dave Brat of Virginia
- Mo Brooks of Alabama
- Ken Buck of Colorado
- Ted Budd of North Carolina
- Warren Davidson of Ohio
- Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee
- Jeff Duncan of South Carolina
- Matt Gaetz of Florida
- Tom Garrett Jr. of Virginia
- Louie Gohmert of Texas
- Paul Gosar of Arizona
- Morgan Griffith of Virginia
- Andy Harris of Maryland
- Jody Hice of Georgia
- Jim Jordan of Ohio
- Raúl Labrador of Idaho
- Debbie Lesko of Arizona
- Mark Meadows of North Carolina
- Alex Mooney of West Virginia
- Ralph Norman of South Carolina
- Gary Palmer of Alabama
- Steve Pearce of New Mexico
- Scott Perry of Pennsylvania
- Bill Posey of Florida
- Dana Rohrabacher of California
- Mark Sanford of South Carolina
- David Schweikert of Arizona
- Randy Weber of Texas
- Ted Yoho of Florida
- Brian Babin of Texas (resigned from the caucus in 2017)
- Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma (appointed as Administrator of NASA)
- Curt Clawson of Florida (retired in 2016)
- Ron DeSantis of Florida (resigned from House in 2018 to focus on gubernatorial run)
- John Fleming of Louisiana (ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2016)
- Trent Franks of Arizona (resigned from Congress in 2017)
- Scott Garrett of New Jersey (defeated in 2016 general election)
- Tim Huelskamp of Kansas (defeated in 2016 primary election)
- Barry Loudermilk of Georgia (declined to renew membership for the 115th Congress)
- Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming (retired in 2016; the only identified female member at the time)
- Tom McClintock of California (resigned from the caucus on September 16, 2015)
- Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina (appointed as Director of the Office of Management and Budget)
- Ted Poe of Texas (resigned from caucus March 26, 2017 after AHCA was withdrawn)
- Reid Ribble of Wisconsin (resigned from the caucus on October 9, 2015)
- Keith Rothfus of Pennsylvania (resigned from the caucus in 2016)
- Matt Salmon of Arizona (retired in 2016)
- Marlin Stutzman of Indiana (ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2016)
- Blue Dog Coalition
- Factions in the Republican Party (United States)
- Liberty Caucus
- Republican Liberty Caucus
- Republican Main Street Partnership
- Republican Study Committee
- Tea Party Caucus
- Tuesday Group
- Second Amendment Caucus
- Taylor, Tyler (January 28, 2015). "House Freedom Caucus Delays Immigration Bill". Headlines and Global News. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
- Loiaconi, Stephen (March 24, 2017). "For Freedom Caucus, defying Trump could have consequences". WJLA-TV. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
The House Freedom Caucus, a cadre of conservatives, libertarians and others who have shown no hesitation to buck the party leadership, has been heavily critical of the AHCA
- Carl, Jeremy (October 13, 2015). "The Freedom Caucus Is a Rebellion That Could Change the GOP's Future". Retrieved March 31, 2017.
- Friedman, Dan (July 13, 2016). "For These House Republicans, the NRA's Seal of Approval Isn't Enough". The Trace. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
- "After Boehner ouster, quiet period, Freedom Caucus attacks on IRS, ObamaCare". Fox News. 10 December 2016.
- Reilly, Mollie (October 21, 2015). "House Conservatives Support Paul Ryan For Speaker, But Won't Formally Endorse Him". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
- "Paul Ryan vs. House Freedom Caucus: Who will blink first in speaker's race?". Los Angeles Times. October 16, 2015.
- "The Right-Wing 'Freedom Caucus' Says It's Going to Kill Trumpcare". Retrieved April 10, 2017.
"GOP Centrists, Not Freedom Caucus, Are Blocking Deal To Replace Obamacare". Retrieved April 10, 2017.
The conventional wisdom—repeated by President Trump—is that the right-wing House Freedom Caucus is singlehandedly blocking Republican attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare.
"Meet the Right-Wing Rebels Who Overthrew John Boehner". Retrieved April 10, 2017.
"Republican quits House Freedom Caucus". Retrieved April 10, 2017.
Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) resigned Sunday from the House Freedom Caucus, indicating he did so because he wanted to vote for the Republican healthcare proposal the right-wing caucus so adamantly opposed.
"WHY LIBERALS HAVE LEARNED TO LOVE THE GOP FREEDOM CAUCUS". Retrieved April 10, 2017.
Because every Republican in Congress is well aware that the Tea Party and the Freedom Caucus are the culmination of American right-wing ideology, and have no interest in compromising on their ideological principles.
"A HOUSE DIVIDED". Retrieved April 10, 2017.
Meadows is one of the more active members of the House Freedom Caucus, an invitation-only group of about forty right-wing conservatives that formed at the beginning of this year.
- French, Lauren (March 14, 2016). "House Freedom Caucus to break with leadership on budget". Politico. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price of Georgia and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have labored to gain the support of the far-right caucus
Thrush, Glenn (March 25, 2017). "Trump Becomes Ensnared in Fiery G.O.P. Civil War". New York Times.
Fabian, Jordan (March 30, 2017). "Trump on the warpath against Freedom Caucus". The Hill.
Woolf, Nicky (October 7, 2015). "Republicans in Freedom Caucus support Florida conservative as speaker". The Guardian.
- Newhauser, Daniel (June 24, 2015). "Boehner-vs.-Freedom-Caucus Battle Escalates". National Journal. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
- Sullivan, Sean (March 4, 2015). "Insurgent bloc of House conservatives proving to be a thorn in Boehner's side". Washington Post. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
- Bush, Daniel (Jan 22, 2018). "Who's to blame for the government shutdown? A look at the political fallout". PBS NewsHour. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
- Eaton, Sabrina (February 11, 2015). "It's official: Rep. Jim Jordan now chairs the House Freedom Caucus". Cleveland. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
- Graf, Scott (January 28, 2015). "Idaho's Rep. Labrador Joins Other Tea Party Conservatives To Form 'Freedom Caucus'". Boise State Public Radio. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
- Ferrechio, Susan (January 26, 2015). "Conservative lawmakers form House Freedom Caucus". Washington Examiner. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
- Lauren Fox, Why (almost) everyone hates the House Freedom Caucus, CNN (March 24, 2017): "At first, there were just nine of them, but the group, which is considered the most far-right flank of the Republican conference, grew."
- Mark Barrett, Meadows in line to lead House's most conservative wing, Asheville Citizen-Times (December 3, 2016): "the House Freedom Caucus, which occupies the furthest-right position on the ideological spectrum in the U.S. House..."
- French, Lauren (January 26, 2015). "9 Republicans launch House Freedom Caucus". Politico. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
- Lizza, Ryan. "A House Divided". The New Yorker. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
- French, Lauren (March 3, 2015). "Conservatives offer John Boehner another DHS deal". Politico. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
- Steinhauer, Jennifer (September 25, 2015). "John Boehner, House Speaker, Will Resign From Congress". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
- Marcos, Cristina. "Boehner rebels replaced on committee". The Hill. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
- Wong, Scott (June 27, 2015). "The dozen rebels targeted by GOP leaders". The Hill. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
- "A Brief History of the 2013 Government Shutdown". www.mediaite.com. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
- Jacobs, Ryan (October 4, 2013). "32 Republicans Who Caused the Government Shutdown". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
- Lizza, Ryan (December 14, 2015). "A HOUSE DIVIDED". Retrieved June 5, 2017.
- "Kevin McCarthy Announces Run for Speaker of the House". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
- Costa, Mike DeBonis, Robert; Helderman, Rosalind S. (October 8, 2015). "House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy drops out of race for House speaker". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
- "In Context: What Kevin McCarthy said about Hillary Clinton and Benghazi". PolitiFact. Retrieved 2018-05-22.
- "Rep. Ribble leaves Freedom Caucus over moves in leadership race". Politico. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
- David M. Herszenhorn (October 21, 2015), "Freedom Caucus Is Key to Paul Ryan House Speaker Decision", The New York Times
- DeBonis, Mike; Costa, Robert (October 21, 2015). "'Supermajority' of House Freedom Caucus to back Paul Ryan's speaker bid". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
- Steinhauer, Jennifer (October 29, 2015). "Paul Ryan Is Elected House Speaker, Hoping to Manage Chaos". The New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
- Nguyen, Tina (2017-10-30). ""Idiots," "Anarchists," and "Assholes": Boehner Unloads on Republicans". The Hive. Retrieved 2017-11-08.
- Schneider, Elena (August 15, 2016). "The GOP establishment strikes back". Politico. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
- Robertson, Joe; Tate, Curtis (August 2, 2016). "Tea party's Tim Huelskamp ousted by challenger Roger Marshall in Kansas congressional race". The Kansas City Star.
- "Breaking: House Republicans withdraw health care bill". KFOR-TV. CNN Wire. March 24, 2017. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
Freedom Caucus members stood by their ideological objections to a bill they say does not go far enough in repealing Obamacare.
- Shannon Pettypiece Jennifer Jacobs & Billy House, Trump Meets Freedom Caucus and Result Is Legislative Disaster, Bloomberg (March 25, 2017).
- Eliza Collins, Collapse of Obamacare repeal plan puts Freedom Caucus in complicated spot, USA Today (March 24, 2017): "While the bill faced critics from all factions of the party, no group played more of a role in sinking the legislation than the Freedom Caucus."
- "Trump tweets about Democrats, Freedom Caucus after health care bill fails". CBS News. March 26, 2017.
- Weber, Joseph (March 26, 2017). "Trump hits Freedom Caucus, Washington conservatives for nixing ObamaCare overhaul". Fox News.
- Abby Livingston, U.S. Rep. Ted Poe resigns from Freedom Caucus, Texas Tribune (March 26, 2017).
- Glenn Thrush, 'We Must Fight Them': Trump Goes After Conservatives of Freedom Caucus, New York Times (March 30, 2017).
- Jordan Fabian, Trump threatens to ‘fight’ Freedom Caucus in midterms, The Hill (March 30, 2017).
- Golshan, Tara (August 28, 2017). "Meet the most powerful man in the House". Vox. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
- Cheney, Kyle (May 7, 2018). "Trump's GOP 'warriors' lead charge against Mueller". Politico. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
- Huetteman, Emmarie (March 20, 2017). "On Health Law, G.O.P. Faces a Formidable Policy Foe: House Republicans". New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
So secretive that it will not disclose the names of its members, [...] the roughly three dozen
- French, Lauren (January 26, 2015). "9 Republicans launch House Freedom Caucus". Politico. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
- Livingston, Abby (March 26, 2017). "U.S. Rep. Ted Poe resigns from Freedom Caucus". Texas Tribune. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
- Hansen, Ronald J. (March 24, 2017). "Two Arizona Republican House members helped sink 'Obamacare' repeal". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
- "House Freedom Caucus Forms 'Fight Club' in House". 218. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
- @DaveBratVA7th (March 13, 2015). "Proud to be part of House Freedom Caucus" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Wong, Scott; Shabad, Rebecca; Marcos, Cristina (February 26, 2015). "House will vote Friday to prevent Homeland Security shutdown". The Hill. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
- Wong, Scott; Marcos, Cristina (June 27, 2015). "The dozen rebels targeted by GOP leaders". The Hill. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
- Dexheimer, Elizabeth (July 5, 2017). "Taking Wall Street's Side, Young Congressman Infuriates Allies". Bloomberg. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
Budd affiliated himself with the Freedom Caucus
- "Boehner's successor joins Freedom Caucus". Politico. June 9, 2016.
- Broden, Scott (April 22, 2015). "DesJarlais raises $144,677 for 2016 campaign". The Daily News Journal. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
- Palmer, Anna; French, Lauren (February 5, 2015). "Ron DeSantis, Jeff Duncan quit House whip team". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
- Lanktree, Graham (February 13, 2018). "Trump Says Democrats Hate His Budget—But Some Republicans Don't Like It Much Either". Newsweek. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
- Some sources state that Gaetz is "close to" the caucus, e.g.: Lucas, John (July 13, 2018). "President Trump takes a break from his European visit to endorse Rep. Matt Gaetz". The Capitolist. Retrieved October 15, 2018. / Smith, Allan; Perticone, Joe (January 13, 2018). "The most conservative congressmen are going all-out to fight for Trump against Mueller and the Russia probe". Business Insider. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
- Portnoy, Jenna (March 15, 2017). "Three Virginia GOP congressmen, including Rep. Tom Garrett in 5th District, line up against GOP health care plan". The Roanoke Times. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
- Garcia, Eric (July 18, 2018). "Gosar Endorses Ward Over McSally in Arizona Senate Race". Roll Call. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
- Darnell, Tim (March 19, 2015). "Can the House Freedom Caucus save the GOP?". Peach Pundit. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
- Sanchez, Yvonne Wingett; Hansen, Ronald J. (July 16, 2018). "McCain and Flake ripped Trump's Putin performance, but other Ariz. reps mostly silent". Arizona Republic. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
- Lovegrove, Jamie (July 2, 2018). "Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows to headline South Carolina GOP fundraiser". The Post and Courier. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
- Fuller, Matt (September 16, 2015). "House Freedom Caucus Loses Member Over Planned Parenthood". CNN. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
- "U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher endorses Dr. Kelli Ward for United States Senate". January 23, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
- Schelzig, Erik (July 2, 2018). "GOP Rep. Rohrabacher campaigns for Matheny". The Tennessee Journal. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
- Drew DeSilver (October 20, 2015), What is the House Freedom Caucus, and who's in it?, Pew Research Center
- Eaton, Sabrina (February 11, 2015). "It's official: Rep. Jim Jordan now chairs the House Freedom Caucus". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
- Marcos, Christina (April 27, 2017). "Texas Republican departs Freedom Caucus". The Hill. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
- Newhauser, Daniel; Mimms, Sarah; Roubein, Rachel (February 26, 2015). "Boehner Has a Plan to Avoid a DHS Shutdown—But It Might Not Pass". National Journal. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
- Pathé, Simone (December 10, 2016). "Louisiana Runoffs Increase Republican Majorities in Senate and House". Roll Call. Retrieved March 25, 2017.
- "Tim Huelskamp, Anti-Establishment House Republican, Loses Primary in Kansas". New York Times. August 3, 2016.
- Hallerman, Tamar (2 March 2017). "Barry Loudermilk quietly leaves the House Freedom Caucus". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
- Fox, Lauren (March 26, 2017). "Rep. Poe resigns from House Freedom Caucus". CNN. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
- Mauriello, Tracie (January 6, 2017). "Freedom Caucus may play role in alternate Obamacare repeal timeline". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
- Cristina Marcos (January 26, 2015). "House conservatives form 'Freedom Caucus'". The Hill.
- Jeremy Carl (October 13, 2015). "The Freedom Caucus Is a Rebellion That Could Change the GOP's Future". Time.
- Linda Killian (October 10, 2015). "How House Freedom Caucus Has Alienated Members—and Risks Its Agenda". The Wall Street Journal.