RALEIGH – Freedom lovers were likely pleased this week when they saw that North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows was re-elected as chairman of the House Freedom Caucus for another year. Over the past two years, Meadows has been instrumental in turning the Freedom Caucus into a force to be reckoned with on Capitol Hill. Not only did the relatively small, but vitally important, faction position themselves to shape policy debates in backrooms of the U.S. Capitol, their growing influence also shaped the conversations from Americans’ living rooms to the Oval Office.
However, 2019 will be different for the Freedom Caucus for the obvious reason that the Democrats are in the majority and Nancy Pelosi holds the Speaker’s gavel. Now that both Establishment Republican leadership and the bona fide conservatives have a common enemy, what’s their plan? To make Democrats miserable, and take back the majority in 2020 with a conservative message.
“The House Freedom Caucus was created to make life hell for the majority. Now, it’s the Democrats’ turn to suffer.[…]
Now in place of coup attempts, the Freedom Caucus is schooling House GOP leaders in the same rebellious tactics that conservatives once deployed against their own party.
“You’re in the minority — your choice is either swim together or sink together,” said Rep. Mark Walker, vice chairman of the House Republican Conference. “Next thing, they’ll be having drinks together.”
The first display of the GOP’s new strategy came this week, as members of the Freedom Caucus halted floor action for hours to protest a Democratic measure denouncing shutdowns.
But this time, they did it with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s blessing.
McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Freedom Caucus chief Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) have begun to jointly plot their attack lines and political stunts, just two months after the conservative group sought to oust him from the top Republican spot.[…]”
We’re hoping the kumbaya has more ‘freedom’ rubbing off on the Establishment than vice versa. Because they are in a minority, there’s not a whole lot the Republicans can do to kill legislation in the House, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make their presence known.
““I can come up with all kinds of creative ways to slow down the floor progress. Those creative ways are being used in a unified way in the minority,” Meadows said.”
While being unified in the minority leaves the Republican caucus as a whole in an obviously weaker legislative position, the drubbing that a lot of milquetoast Republicans took in 2018 means that the conservatives of the Freedom Caucus now make up a larger portion of the caucus than last session. And because they Freedom Caucus leaders like Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-NC) will be intimately involved in frustrating House Democrats agenda, they’ll likely maintain a seat at the table come election time in 2020. If the Republicans are indeed successful in taking back the majority in 2020, the Freedom Caucus leaders will have raised their stock among the entire caucus such that a “Speaker Mark Meadows” could be in order.
Read more about the new detente between the conservatives and Establishment as they focus their ire on the Democratic majority here.