Exclusive: The House Freedom Caucus is sending incoming GOP candidates a 52-page booklet on Thursday outlining the challenges they will encounter as freshman members, including obscure regulations, hurried and crucial votes, and pressure from the party leadership.
Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., a member of the Freedom Caucus, is among those who over time have suffered from these occasionally overwhelming circumstances new members must deal with. He vowed not to vote to extend John Boehner’s tenure as the senior Republican in the House when he initially sought for office in 2014.
When the Republican Conference gathered in November to select its speaker candidate, he cast a vote against Ohio Representative John Boehner. Hice reversed his main campaign promise and supported Boehner on Jan. 3, as members were being sworn in and ballots were being counted in a very close race for speaker.
Supporters began to send out furious texts. His offices started to feel nasty. The first day brought quite a significant setback for Hice’s crew. An ex-employee of Hice’s claimed that the recovery period from that experience took months and was “traumatic.”
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A member of the GOP leadership allegedly told Hice that the floor vote in the November conference was comparable to a general election and that members were expected to vote along party lines. Hice, a long-time preacher who had never before held elective office, simply accepted that person’s word for it.
The new message from the House Freedom Caucus to all new Republican candidates running for House seats throughout the country is intended to stop scenarios like that. Page 19 states that members are not legally required to support the party’s candidate for House speaker.
There are those who have never held any kind of elected office. In other words, everything will be brand-new to them when they get in Washington, D.C., according to Scott Perry, R-Pa., Chair of the House Freedom Caucus.
Have votes for the steering committee, the leadership, and the regions for the steering committee members, and choose your committee assignments, Perry advised. “All those things happen quite swiftly… However, a member who is well-informed will be able to best represent their district.
For the majority of persons enter Congress, even if they have prior experience in the state legislature… Rep. Andy Biggs, a Republican from Arizona, remarked that Congress is a totally different species.
The manual contains a thorough schedule of the duties that members must do between election day and the time of their oath of office, including votes on party leadership, conference rules, steering committee members, and more. It also contains a list of reform suggestions from the Freedom Caucus for the GOP Conference and the House as a whole, including bringing back the motion to vacate the chair.
Some will exhort you to be “a team player” by adhering to authority figures’ instructions. You’ll receive advice not to “rock the boat” by expressing disagreement with the leadership’s plans.
— Scott Perry, R-Pa, chair of the House Freedom Caucus. In a letter included with the packet, Perry informs new members of the important choices they must make before the end of November, including votes on conference rules and leadership elections.
These are crucial choices, but the truth is that it suits certain people just fine if you are unprepared or oblivious of their importance, according to Perry. Some would advise you to conform to authority and follow orders in order to be a “team player.” You will be cautioned not to “rock the boat” by expressing disagreement with the leadership’s goals.
According to Perry, this effort isn’t just about applying pressure to the leadership; it’s also about making sure new members can make a contribution to governance right away.
In his speech at CPAC, BOEBERT takes aim at the GOP leadership’s bow, saying, “DISAPPOINTED TOO MANY TIMES.”
It goes beyond just opposing the party’s leadership. The goal is to add value, Perry added. Everything is based on the idea that if you keep doing the same things, you’ll keep getting different results. We desire distinct results.
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and other Freedom Caucus members have made themselves available for discussions on what candidates would face after they win, according to a senior adviser to a Freedom Caucus member. She and other Freedom Caucus members have visited with candidates including Anna Paulina Luna in Florida and Neil Parrott in Maryland while on the campaign trail. Already determined to join the Freedom Caucus is Luna.
At the level of a candidate, you have extremely casual interactions, Perry continued. But when the possibility of them being elected members increases, the conversation shifts away from “How can we help you in your election?” and toward “How can we help you navigate Washington, D.C., and be productive here?”
Members can be more effective, according to Perry, if they take the time to consider how they want to handle their flurry of obligations in Washington before they arrive.