Freedom Caucus

This article is about the U.S. Congressional organization. For the Democratic political action organization, see Democratic Freedom Caucus.
House Freedom Caucus
Chairman Jim Jordan (OH)
Founded January 26, 2015 (2015-01-26)
Split from Republican Study Committee
Ideology Conservatism
Fiscal conservatism
Social conservatism[1]
Right-wing populism
Political position Right-wing to Far-right[2][3][4][5][6]
National affiliation Republican Party
Seats in the House
42 / 435

The Freedom Caucus, also known as the House Freedom Caucus, is a congressional caucus consisting of conservative Republican members of the United States House of Representatives.[7] It was formed by a group of Congressmen as a "smaller, more cohesive, more agile and more active" group of conservatives.[8]

Many members are also part of the Republican Study Committee, another conservative House group.[8][9] The caucus is sympathetic to the Tea Party movement.[10] According to its mission statement, "The House Freedom Caucus gives a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them. We support open, accountable and limited government, the Constitution and the rule of law, and policies that promote the liberty, safety and prosperity of all Americans."[11]


The origins of the Caucus lie at the mid-January 2015 Republican congressional retreat in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Raúl Labrador and eight other representatives met separately from the main group to plan their own agenda. The group debated over a name for their new caucus, eventually settling on the "Freedom Caucus" 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 started with nine initial members in Hershey, who 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.[12]

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. Politico reported that one of the caucus leaders, Labrador of Idaho, said the Caucus will offer an alternative that the most conservative Republican members could support.[13]

The Caucus was involved in the resignation of Boehner on September 25, 2015, and the ensuing leadership battle for the new Speaker.[14] 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 them over their willingness to shut down the government in order to accomplish goals such as repealing the Affordable Care Act.[12]

Initially, Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader, was the lead contender, but the Freedom Caucus withheld its support.[15] However, McCarthy withdrew from the race on September 28, 2015.[16] 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.[17]

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.[18] 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.[19] On October 29, 2015, Ryan succeeded John Boehner as the Speaker of the House.[20]

On November 17, 2015, Jim Jordan was re-elected as Chairman of the caucus.

The group has faced backlash from the Republican Party establishment during the 2016 election cycle.[21] One of its members, Congressman Tim Huelskamp, a Tea Party Republican representing Kansas's First District, was defeated during a primary election on August 2, 2016, by Roger Marshall.


Congressional District map for Freedom Caucus membership of the 114th Congress. Former members in light color.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus as of June 2016 include:

Former members

See also


  1. Reilly, Mollie (October 21, 2015). "House Conservatives Support Paul Ryan For Speaker, But Won't Formally Endorse Him". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  2. 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
  3. Sherman, Jake; French, Lauren (March 6, 2015). "Rebels with a cause". Politico. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  4. 1 2 Newhauser, Daniel (June 24, 2015). "Boehner-vs.-Freedom-Caucus Battle Escalates". National Journal. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  5. 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.
  6. "House Freedom Caucus Looks to Bend Leadership to Its Will". Newsmax. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  7. Taylor, Tyler (January 28, 2015). "House Freedom Caucus Delays Immigration Bill". Headlines and Global News. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  8. 1 2 Eaton, Sabrina (February 11, 2015). "It's official: Rep. Jim Jordan now chairs the House Freedom Caucus". Cleveland. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  9. 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.
  10. Ferrechio, Susan (January 26, 2015). "Conservative lawmakers form House Freedom Caucus". Washington Examiner. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  11. Miller, Darin (January 26, 2015). "House Republicans form House Freedom Caucus". Congressman Jim Jordan. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  12. 1 2 Lizza, Ryan. "A House Divided". The New Yorker. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  13. French, Lauren (March 3, 2015). "Conservatives offer John Boehner another DHS deal". Politico. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  14. Steinhauer, Jennifer (September 25, 2015). "John Boehner, House Speaker, Will Resign From Congress". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  15. "Kevin McCarthy Announces Run for Speaker of the House". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  16. 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.
  17. 1 2 "Rep. Ribble leaves Freedom Caucus over moves in leadership race". POLITICO. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  18. David M. Herszenhorn (October 21, 2015), "Freedom Caucus Is Key to Paul Ryan House Speaker Decision", The New York Times
  19. 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.
  20. Steinhauer, Jennifer (October 29, 2015). "Paul Ryan Is Elected House Speaker, Hoping to Manage Chaos". The New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  21. Schneider, Elena (August 15, 2016). "The GOP establishment strikes back". Politico.
  22. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 French, Lauren (January 26, 2015). "9 Republicans launch House Freedom Caucus". Politico. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  23. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "House Freedom Caucus Forms 'Fight Club' in House". 218. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  24. DaveBratVA7th (March 13, 2015). "Proud to be part of House Freedom Caucus" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  25. 1 2 3 Fuller, Matt (September 16, 2015). "House Freedom Caucus Loses Member Over Planned Parenthood". CNN. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  26. May, Caroline (January 27, 2015). "House GOP To Regroup On Border Bill". Breitbart. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  27. Wong, Scott; Shabad, Rebecca; Marcos, Cristina (February 26, 2015). "House will vote Friday to prevent Homeland Security shutdown". The Hill. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  28. 1 2 3 4 5 Wong, Scott; Marcos, Cristina (June 27, 2015). "The dozen rebels targeted by GOP leaders". The Hill. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  29. 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.
  30. "Boehner's successor joins Freedom Caucus". Politico. June 9, 2016.
  31. Broden, Scott (April 22, 2015). "DesJarlais raises $144,677 for 2016 campaign". The Daily News Journal. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  32. Palmer, Anna; French, Lauren (February 5, 2015). "Ron DeSantis, Jeff Duncan quit House whip team". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  33. "Two Texas Republicans holdouts vote against Paul Ryan for speaker". The Dallas Morning News. October 29, 2015. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  34. Strong, Jonathon (January 27, 2015). "Secretive 'Freedom Caucus' Claims Scalp On Border Bill Delay". Breitbart. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  35. 1 2 Darnell, Tim (March 19, 2015). "Can the House Freedom Caucus save the GOP?". Peach Pundit. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  37. 1 2 Drew DeSilver (October 20, 2015), What is the House Freedom Caucus, and who's in it?, Pew Research Center

Further reading

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