October 20, 2015

What is the House Freedom Caucus, and who’s in it?

Amid all the coverage of House Republicans’ unruly efforts to select a speaker who can command broad support from their fractious ranks, one name keeps coming up: the House Freedom Caucus. But what, exactly, is the House Freedom Caucus?

Pew Research Center has confirmed the identities of 36 Freedom Caucus members through representatives’ public statements, their comments to the media or their offices’ direct responses. A handful of other House members who reportedly belong to the group could not be confirmed. (The communications director for Rep. Darrell Issa of California, for example, said he could neither confirm nor deny Issa’s membership in the caucus.)

Ideologically speaking, they’re among the most conservative of House Republicans, though not all are on the rightmost end of the spectrum.

Typical Freedom Caucus Member Is More Conservative Than Other Republicans

To quantify this, we used a dataset called DW-NOMINATE, first developed by political scientists Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal in the early 1980s and refined and updated since. In simplified form, DW-NOMINATE assigns each representative a score ranging from -1 (most liberal) to +1 (most conservative) based on roll-call votes.

The 36 identified Freedom Caucus members had an average score of +0.659, more than a third higher than the average score for all other House GOP members (+0.455); the least conservative Freedom Caucus member (Steve Pearce of New Mexico) is still more conservative than the average non-Freedom Caucus House Republican.

Freedom Caucus Members Have Less Seniority Than Other RepublicansFreedom Caucus members also have spent decidedly less time in the House. Of the 36 identified members, 26 (72%) were first elected in 2010 or later, compared with 54% of other House Republicans.

But in many other ways, the Freedom Caucus looks much like the rest of the House GOP. Of the members we were able to identify, there is only one woman (Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming) and one ethnic or racial minority (Raúl Labrador of Idaho, who is Hispanic). They’re a bit younger, with an average age of 54 (as opposed to 56 for the rest of the  House Republicans), and somewhat more likely to come from the South (56% versus 45%) or the West (22% versus 16%). (Related: Freedom Caucus districts look much like other GOP-held districts)

The group, which includes many veterans of the Tea Party movement, was formed in January with the declared aim of pushing the House GOP leadership rightward on certain fiscal and social issues. More broadly, the caucus wants power shifted away from the leadership to the rank-and-file (by, for instance, giving committees more leeway on which bills to move forward and allowing more amendments to come to floor votes).

Unlike the plethora of caucuses and committees – which range from the Ad Hoc Congressional Committee for Irish Affairs to the House GOP Study Group – the Freedom Caucus does not officially disclose who belongs to it (aside from its nine founding members), though various unofficial lists have circulated. Membership is by invitation only, and meetings are not public.

Though it represents less than a sixth of House Republicans, by acting as a bloc (decisions agreed to by 80% of the caucus are supposed to be binding on all) and choosing their fights carefully, the Freedom Caucus has certainly made an impact since its formation. The group’s defiance of Speaker John Boehner, over issues such as fast-track trade authority and defunding Planned Parenthood, contributed to Boehner’s decision last month to quit the job. And the group’s decision not to back House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy prompted McCarthy to pull out of the race and positioned the Freedom Caucus as a kingmaker.

How does such a small group get to have such a big say? Simple arithmetic: Currently, Republicans have 247 seats in the House to 188 for the Democrats, which would seem to be a comfortable majority. But if the 36 (or more) Freedom Caucus members vote as a bloc against the GOP leadership’s wishes, their effective strength falls to 211 or fewer – that is, less than the majority needed to elect a new speaker, pass bills and conduct most other business.

What most distinguishes the Freedom Caucus from other House Republicans has been their willingness to defy the wishes of leadership, up to and including Boehner, and to band together with like-minded Republicans who threaten to block any temporary measure to fund the government that didn’t also defund Planned Parenthood. That latter stance, in fact, cost the Freedom Caucus one member, Tom McClintock of California; another member, Reid Ribble of Wisconsin, quit the group earlier this month.

Related: House Freedom Caucus districts look much like other GOP-held districts

House Freedom Caucus Members

All members are Republicans

Note: Partial terms are counted as full terms. Source: Pew Research Center reporting (confirmed Freedom Caucus members as of Oct. 19, 2015); Voteview.com Weekly Constant Space DW-NOMINATE scores by Jeff Lewis, Nolan McCarty, Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal, updated Oct. 11, 2015; Pew Research Center analysis of the Congressional Biographical Directory (House terms served)

 

Category: Sortable Table

Topics: Congress, U.S. Political Parties

  1. Photo of Drew DeSilver

    is a senior writer at Pew Research Center.

118 Comments

  1. debra Davis5 months ago

    freedom caucus totally ineffective. how did they get on every comittee in congress? hmmmm maybe a little back scratching

  2. Daniel Porter8 months ago

    How many times has the piresident put something to a vote in the congress or the Senate and had a group like the one discussed like the freedom group. There are groups on both side that why no work in Washington. It called. Taking. Hostage. Daniel Porter

  3. Iris Hill8 months ago

    What is the total population represented by this caucus?

  4. Randi Lauterbach8 months ago

    This group needs to loosen up. We don’t need divisiveness within our own party. Common sense. Use some common sense. Hail to our new house leader. Be sure you work with him. Brat, don’t make me vote for your next opponent!

    Glen Allen, Va.

    1. Fred Andrews6 months ago

      What you call “divisiveness” is just people standing up for their beliefs and refusing to compromise, which is exactly what the FC, and everyone for that matter, should do

      I don’t want anyone to “loosen up”. I don’t want to “get along”. I don’t want Congress to focus on “getting stuff done”. I want to stop them to “getting stuff done,” since more often than thought whatever they do takes away liberty and costs money.

      “Common sense” is just code for sacrificing your principles pushed by those on the left.

      “Extremism in defense of Liberty is no vice.” –Bary Goldwater

  5. Angel Perea8 months ago

    The congress should give these 43 clowns what they want! Less Govt! Pass legislation for specific govt cuts of big Govt. services to those 43 districts.
    All federal offices should be closed, cut back or transferred out of their district! We want to keep them and their supporting constituents to be happy. Let us see how long they will obstruct and/or close down big govt. services buildings.
    Besides, since most these Red districts are in Red States that pay out $1 in taxes and gets back $1.50 in Fed. services. FACTCHECK the Free Stuff!

  6. Gary Miller8 months ago

    How can Paul Ryan be hailed as fiscally responsible legislator when he supports the new 2 year budget deal that lifts the debt ceiling. That allows Obama to continue to damage the countries economy for at least two more years. The House Speakership election today was business as usual, empty promises and lofty Roderick till the next crisis. I know the sounds cynical, but the politicians have done nothing to change my mind in the last 25 years!

    1. Elena8 months ago

      Gary, what do you mean lofty” Roderick? ” Do you mean “rhetoric”?

      The economy is not damaged, it’s doing a lot better than it was under Bush.

  7. Patrick8 months ago

    Was the tea party not dumb enough?

  8. jerry betts8 months ago

    Thank you for that; I thought I knew, but that helped.

    I am a moderate; not that that means anything any more; but I know what it means to me. It is why I have mistrusted the Tea Party, as I have considered them, as I understand what they have been standing for, naive and out of touch with views that are unrealistic in the long run.

    But then, as a moderate, I mistrust both the far left and the far right, considering both fringes; I think the fringes are dangerous.

    There is too much self-serving rhetoric going on, damaging the Republican Party, whatever that is anymore, and being exploited by the Democratic party, which has always been more for power through democracy that liberty through Federalism.

    I am carefully watching how it all plays out; it certainly is interesting.

  9. C.Rice8 months ago

    I like the way everyone blames the party that is not there party. When we really are the useful idiots all politicians are morr loyal to there big donors and lobbyist than they ever are to us… so go ahead and blame the other party its all there fault when really its are faults for electing all of them and letting them make careers out of this

  10. Peggy8 months ago

    The “old” Republican Party members better get a handle on Freedom Caucus members, and the Tea Bag Party, and remove them from Congress and an other government office; or this lunacy will destroy the Republican Party. The “Old” Republicans worn the public, that the far right would destroy the GOP. Seems nobody is listening, nor do they care. Amazing the Freedom Caucus and Tea Bag Party rant/rave about how “patriotic” they are, when it seems they are hell-bent on destroying the great country of ours.

    GOP………..get on the ball and clean up your mess. It’s long over due.

    1. Al8 months ago

      Peggy, you have identified the problem but failed to see the issue that has created the ungodly mess this country and in particular our political system is in. The real party is the “Old” Republican and Democratic party systems and the number of “career” politicians in our present system. Under the present system of party politics an elected official has little or no time to work for their constituents and is also trapped into doing the will of the party if he or she wants to retain their job and status. The strong party dominance has lead to bad decisions, futile discussions, and a destruction our freedoms. It is interesting to me that the very politicians that cry for closing the wealth gap are the wealthiest people in our society. In particular we have president, vice president, former secretary of state, speaker of house, etc. that have routinely plundered tax dollars to their own personal gain and have no respect for lower income groups so what they propose is to destroy the middle working class and further expand the gap by pretending they even care!

  11. Anne Llewellyn8 months ago

    I would like to see the lawmakers do something novel….work with each other for the good of the country. I truly believe President Obama would work with the Republicans to improve say for instance…..aspects of the Affordable Care Act. He has admitted it is not perfect legislation and could use improvements. He will not sign a bill that does away with it…..we all know that…why not work together to improve the legislation.

    If the House Freedom members ant to make a difference…. do what leaders do….get into a room with the President and your Democratic colleagues and do the hard work that needs to be done….use your skills to improve the process. Stop the infighting…..I truly believe there is common ground that can meet both sides philosophies.

    1. Al8 months ago

      In the perfect world we would behave as you have wished. It seems the only time this cooperation of political resources ever pull together with a national focus is in times of peril. We have a strong two party system that are more focused on keeping in power than on the good of the nation or the people and in the last ten plus years we have been under the thumb of a president who chooses to be a dictator not and not one concerned with national pride or growth of our country. He has spent more time focusing on increasing the power of his chosen political party than on solving the ills of our system or our economics. As long as our policies, procedures, temperament, and direction is dedicated to the power of either party, we we fail to return to the greatness we once enjoyed.

  12. Andy G8 months ago

    You can thank Congressman Boehner and the Republican establishment and Harry Reid for the republicans giving in to the dragooning bills that the Democrats crammed down the Americans throats. Examples, Obamacare, TTP, and other freedom loosing bills and executive orders. You already know about Boehner and his lost congressional sheep. You need to study what the Freedom Caucus is really about. Examples, Americans freedoms, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. The separation of powers that our fore fathers set up in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
    If our Congressional leaders vote in a member, as Speaker of the House, that thinks, votes, and acts like Congressman Boehner and most of the Republican Establishment members then we will get the same type of performance. Think, and ask yourself, ARE YOU BETTER OFF TODAY than you were in 2008.

    1. Np88 months ago

      No problem. Republicans can manage. Let’s have coop congress.

  13. Lena Brooks8 months ago

    Thanks for the list. This way I will know who these small majority of people who have been working for themselves instead of comprimizing with the others to bring about a more successful House. I call them Traitors and definitely not Patriots!

    1. sr8 months ago

      they are actually doing their job unlike others

  14. Peter Weldon8 months ago

    I find it interesting that pulling Federal funding for Planned Parenthood is a litmus test.

    The question is not whether abortion is legal or not. The question is, given the broad swath of legitimate views on the subject, whether the every US citizen as represented by Congress and the President should be financially subsidizing abortion.

    My view is that the answer at the Federal level is NO. The answer at the local level is, if you want to subsidize abortion you have the right to do so through contributions to a 501(3)c with a tax deductible contribution.

    In other words, we need to stop using the Federal fisk to finance our personal values on both sides on any and every moral argument.

    1. Jael8 months ago

      I agree with your stance that some things should be kept at the local level. But I must correct a big inaccuracy in your comment: $0 that Planned Parenthood gets for the fed goes towards abortion. Again: NO FED MONEY goes to abortion. I don’t blame people for getting confused about this, because republicans mislead on purpose. But those same republican politicians perpetuate this lie even though they know very well that the fed money is not going to abortion, but rather the many other functions of PP (exams, parent planning, women’s health, etc.). So, pulling PP money SHOULD be a litmus test, since that action would be a consciously hypocritical and deceitful one that puts party politics over policy. If the reps had a policy-driven reason for pulling PP funding, that’s fine (I may not agree but I would find the reasoning legitimate), but the reason the push (that they don’t “want to find abortions”) is completely and utterly predicated on a lie. They take advantage of the average working American who may not have the time to fact-check the politicians they’re supposed to trust.

    2. stcous8 months ago

      No federal funding for abortions @ Planned Parenthood.

      Abortions represent less than 3% of funded activities. Majority is testing, contraceptions, cancer screening and general women’s health issue. Mostly for financially struggling women.

      Eliminating ALL funding if it might offend ‘personal values’ on any moral issue defeats the purpose of democracy and effectively eliminates most NIH research, military, IRS, national parks and most federally supplemented education funds.

      Abortion is legal…you don’t get to choose what laws you ignore.

  15. jonathan griffin8 months ago

    The freedom caucus, made up primarily of slave states, I use the present tense;not former slave states because slavery is as extant today as it ever was. They represent the hatred that only southerners and sympathizers embrace. Poor schools for poor people, keeps the poor, poor and then the f.c. blames the poor for being poor. The poor will always be with us because that’s the way people like the f.c. designed our society.
    True Americans would want every American to be availed of all that America has to offer. The f.c. and their ilk have never stopped fighting the civil war. As a disabled Vet. I remember my first day on my perm. duty station in 1977. I was a 7 month “slick sleeve” with an unprecedented two decoration ribbons.A nco greeted me with “welcome to the war”,what war?The civil war. That’s why f.c. is so proudly anti-American.

    1. Al8 months ago

      You are obviously prejudiced and have a progressive view of lower economic and lesser educated groups. You apparently are one who believes that those coming from lower income groups and families with less education are incapable of taking care of themselves and advancing in society so the solution is to just give them money and benefits that further enslaves them to the same condition generation after generation. The thing that made this country great was the fact that every citizen had an opportunity to grow and advance through their willingness to work and learn and through this right we became a strong nation of doers. Progressives look down on these groups and give up on them plunging them further into the sad lives they live. In lieu of helping them to become stronger families with better support systems you tend to provide them with rewards for their bad behavior and misconceptions of what being created equal really means! Even Martin Luther King recognized the plight of the people when he asked for an equal opportunity to all people to advance through their own efforts without prejudice. He did not ask for hand outs or to reward groups that failed to take the initiative to advance.

    2. KPEMH8 months ago

      I agree with Mr Griffen. That opportunity to grow and become middle class is kept from the very poor. When the GOP lauds people working really hard to raise themselves from poverty, they are in fact saying poor people are lazy. That is a shallow idea. Progressives do NOT look at poor people as incapable of taking care of themselves. Without education/knowledge there is NO way up the income ladder. Progressives would like to see all children well educated, not just the kids residing in a wealthy neighborhood. Republicans have been trying to destroy public education for years and privatize it (as well as social security!- they want to get their mitts on that bundle of money!) In the South I saw children reenacting the Civil War right after church out on the lovely green lawn. They appeared to be middle school aged and carried long muskets. It was sickening. I am talking 2010, 2011, 2012, not decades ago. Growing up in the midwest we never ran out after church to “reenact the civil war” Opportunity is very hard to create for yourself when you live in a ghetto, and don’t even own a car. It takes good willed people to provide or give the disenfranchised opportunity. Opportunity is not “stuff”. Its a chance to get a hand up the ladder. A good well funded public education system for ALL would be a helping hand.

  16. DLB8 months ago

    Could someone explain why a group that represents a small percentage of House Republicans and an even smaller percentage of the full House believes it should get its way 100 percent of the time?

  17. William H. Magill8 months ago

    The Freedom Caucus is a joke.
    They stand for nothing except opposition to everything.
    To quote the popular phrase — they are the party of No.

    They are symptomatic of the Parliamentary System which has replaced the Representative Democracy which this country was founded upon.

    They, like all politicians, are interested in only one thing – lining their own pockets, er, sorry, getting themselves re-elected – so they can continue to feed at the public trough.

    1. Al8 months ago

      Your last statement is absolutely correct and reason this country is going to the dogs. Our political system is so focused on the political strength of either party we are choking our country to death. It is past time for a complete upheaval of the current political system by terminating the reign elected representatives of both parties. Too many career politicians focused on doing the bidding of their party are killing the greatness of this country. Maybe we need more factions inside both parties to move counter to the will of the party and then there may be an opportunity for a slight focus on the plight of nation in lieu of the strength of a particular party.

  18. Gene Albery8 months ago

    Speaking strictly as a political layman, the Freedom Caucus does not make sense to me as a voter. Why don’t they run as a 3rd party? In order to get bills to a vote it is to bad we cannot do so on just a majority vote, thus the Caucus would simply lose its power/influence.

  19. diane grossman8 months ago

    is anyone listening? heard alot on the blaze today. not a good feeling for Ryan or the freedom caucus votes!!! we will see the collapse of the GOP if this continues. what about the land of the free home of the BRAVE !?

    1. Bigdog8 months ago

      The collapse of the GOP, and hence the Freedom Caucus, would be the best damn thing to ever happen to this country!

      1. Al8 months ago

        So you prefer a one party system that has no debates and does the will of that political leader? This is communism and has failed in every country that experimented with it. Our failing has to been to destroy the American family, place nearly 50% of population on welfare or other methods of putting families on the dole and the consequence has been and continues to be disastrous. Solution for teenage pregnancy, give them condoms. Solution for under employment or single parent homes, give the free money, tax credits when no income was earned, cell phones, etc and consequently enslave them for generations. We have destroyed the power and wealth immigrants brought to our nation by no longer requiring them to learn our language, know our history, respect our country and have instead let them change our country, gain free economic support and not value or support the things that made this country great!

  20. cathy bangert8 months ago

    NO on Paul Ryan NO NO NO , yes I know I am shouting. True conseratives do not want him. His ideas on controling the border and those that break our lasw to get here are all wrong. He will be worse than Boehner and that is saying alot. His demands should tell you that he is not our guy, his ego is just to big for words. If Harry Reed likes him that is bad news.

  21. Ollie58 months ago

    Can’t believe the Freedom Caucus now supports Paul Ryan. What are they thinking? Paul Ryan was on the wrong side of every vote. Paul Ryan is Boehner #2…can’t they see this. Freedom Caucus just lost my support. It is no longer credible in my opinion. Please don’t talk about the constitution anymore Freedom Caucus.

  22. asdasd8 months ago

    They need more members. Get RINOs out!

  23. Doug Paris8 months ago

    Interesting how some of the descriptive phrases used in the body of the article could have been used to describe the KKK or the JBS of the last century and to think these right headed individuals represent their constituents and more depressing that enough like minded constituents have knowingly(?) placed these radicals in office.

  24. Richard Harrison8 months ago

    The thing that bothers me the most, is that a small percentage of reps. can have such an impact on the working of government. i don’t know how many people are in their districts, but considering how many voted for them it has to be a very small percentage of the country’s population and their influence is way out of line. They seem like little kids that take the ball home if they can’t get their way.

  25. Dwedde8 months ago

    If the right wing anarchist prevail:
    Dirty air to breath
    polluted water to drink
    let the buyer beware economy
    myth instead of science
    white only may apply
    social Darwinism as law
    at first, later on it gets really bad.

  26. Marijan Favetti8 months ago

    It seems to me that even though I think highly of Paul Ryan as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, I don’t believe that the job of Speaker of the House is exactly an eight to five job with week-ends and holidays off. If that is what Mr. Ryan is hoping for, may I suggest a job where he punches the clock!

  27. Paul Kuder8 months ago

    Anyone that says they are for the Constitution and then wants to change the rules of the House established by Thomas Jefferson is fooling himself and everyone else. SHAME ON YOU, PAUL RYAN. We are taking names when Paul Ryan comes to a vote on the 29th and we will remember! Personally, I will financially support ANY candidate (R or D) that runs against a “Freedom Caucus Member” that votes to install Paul Ryan as Speaker. I am tired of being lied to…show some backbone or freaking go home. That goes double for my congressman.

  28. Peter8 months ago

    The “freedom caucus” sounds and acts a lot like the “brown shirts” of days gone by.

    1. Elyce M. Benham, MS8 months ago

      You got that right! Many of their “policies” are similar to or very closely follow those of the German fascists of the 1930s & 1940s. Even the attempts to defund Planned Paranthood and attempts to ban abortion are similar to the liebensborn (sp?) programs in some ways, except the Tea Baggers don’t want to pay any monies for children AFTER they’re born nor any to prevent pregnancy. That’s a really convoluted policy and is inconsistent at best!

  29. Starla8 months ago

    Feel the Bern!

  30. EDWARD HARTMANN8 months ago

    Paul Ryan does not want to work for the American people. His job is a privilege, not a right. If he cannot work more than five days a week, and wants to be home every weekend. He can go find a job that would allow him to do this. Unlike the men and women in the service of this country in the Armed Forces that do not get to go home every weekend to their families.
    Paul Ryan should go home this weekend and stay there.

    1. Peter8 months ago

      Yes, service men and women serve 24/7, however, congress men and women certainly do NOT! Why would you compare PR to a service personnel?

  31. Juelia Baker8 months ago

    Do not elect Paul Ryan. Americans will be watching how you vote on October 29th concerning this issue. Stand up for us…Freedom Caucus Representatives.

  32. R.F.Wright8 months ago

    Anyone that gets a nod from Harry Reid should make conservative Republicans very uneasy. He does not instill a feeling of confidence, for those of us that identify as true conservatives.He is a moderate at best.

  33. ginnie lebosse8 months ago

    We do not want Paul Ryan as speaker.
    Please don’t shove him down our throats. He can’t even work weekends – well just run this by our military! Let them take weekends off. Ryan is as bad a Boehner.

  34. Jerry Quisenberry8 months ago

    Do not allow any changes! Everyone in government must be able to be held accountable to those they represent. Ryan is not suited for the job if he requires special treatment!

  35. J M Dennis8 months ago

    Any members of the Republican Party or Democratic Party that form caucus no longer represent the majority of the party or public and operate under an agenda that is not what they were elected for. The formation and recognition of such a group borders on treason and therefore should be expelled from the representative body and stripped of all government monies such as retirement, government health care and hold a status the same as dishonorably discharged military personnel.

    1. Mark8 months ago

      You my friend would enjoy a tour of the political system in North Korea. They have a similar system in place to which you have expressed favor.
      Remember, some might disagree with you one day and wish to take away your position or job or even worse, your free speech.

      “Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me”-Martin Niemöller

    2. Greg B8 months ago

      They’re not supposed to represent the party or the public at large they represent their constituents of their individual congressional districts. This is a relatively small number of people compared to the country and the party. Not all districts are as conservative or liberal as others. If a congressman campaigned as he serves, and was elected, then there is nothing wrong with banding together with other like minded congressmen to maximize their impact. It’s smart to do so, and allows one congressman of any particular frame of mind to have greater influence than his one vote. However, it’s important to remember their not there to vote how the whole party wants them to, just a small number residing in their districts.

      1. Al8 months ago

        Well stated. The problem with our country today is that there are too few debates and too many sheep following a single leader. An open political discussion in our present society too often ends in an argument or shouting match with no discussion and to tolerance for difference of opinions. This is further encouraged by what we see and hear on TV, the Newspapers, Magazines, etc. that are biased as the remainder of the country an fail to convey facts without editorializing and censoring the information being presented as fact.

  36. Bob8 months ago

    I get the feeling that these congressmen must be the only ones in congress that realize that the difference between a Billion and a Trillion is more than a couple of letters. OK, reading some of the comments, I suppose that does make their views relatively unique among the American public, most of whom, like their representatives couldn’t pass a 3rd grade math test.

  37. Robert L Powser8 months ago

    Paual Ryan speakership would further divide the house more than it already is. Satisfaction with the status quo is no longer an option for either party and this would cement Republicans fate for a generation.
    It is impossible to understate the damage the lefts ideology has caused to this country and to have a house speaker who’s positions are not inline with mainstream American values and beliefs would be catastrophic in scope to the Republican party.

    1. C Jaeschke8 months ago

      You would be right Robert L Powser

    2. Deb L8 months ago

      AMEN AND AMEN Mr Powser

    3. Bigdog8 months ago

      Wow! The real damage done by conservatives and then blaming it on liberals. Typical right wing hypocrisy!

  38. Andrew Rei8 months ago

    All members of the badly-named “Freedom Caucus” (the name is simply Fascist GOP propaganda) are members of the “Suicide Caucus”, the 85 GOP House Reps that won their districts by 20 percentage points or more last fall.
    No one in the Suicide Caucus has any interest in actually governing.

    1. Greg B8 months ago

      They’re interested in governing according the their constituents in their individual congressional districts, not ruling according to establishment wishes.

  39. Phyllis Zingler8 months ago

    I really enjoyed this article. I had no idea what the Freedom Caucus was all about.

  40. PJ8 months ago

    As an Independent before it was chic, I do lean to the Right. I checked out the list of probable members and found myself thoroughly disgusted… I am a “Zonie”, from AZ., and don’t believe our representatives are looking out “for the common” folk, but an ideology. Ideology in today’s complicated world is GOP suicide.Then seeing the “demands” of some establishment politician out of WI… Screw you Ryan, the world is on fire and you are not the center of it… If you don’t want to be speaker, just say so and get the hell out of the way. Now!

  41. Dave8 months ago

    This is a perfect example of why we need term limits on all congressional members. This young group are not bought and paid for, and owe nothing to the special interest groups that the lobbyists pander to with satchels of money. These are the only representatives left for the American people who want this country to survive. We will end up like Europe if we don’t take a stand now. Any who disagree with this brave group of elected lawmakers, is in fact, out of step with a Majority of American Citizens. I would actually like you to leave this Great Land and take your ideology with you.. You are part of the Problem..

    1. mlarsom8 months ago

      They have been bought and paid for by oligarchs and ideologues like the Koch Brothers and Grover Norquist, all of whom want a complete roll back of industry regulation and severe cuts in social programs through tax cuts for the top incomes. This is not freedom, this is the destruction of the middle class and its further enslavement to hopelessness, which is fine with them — we can keep our unrestricted guns and distract each other that way. The Freedom Caucus is the wrong turn for our country and we need to rid ourselves of this plague.

      1. muthamedia8 months ago

        Obama has decimated the middle class. Idiot.

        1. Bigdog8 months ago

          No, Ronald Reagan started that decades ago, and carried on through conservative lies. You really need to study your history and quit watching FAUX Noise!

    2. Julio A. (Juliosus)8 months ago

      You can look at who’s bought and paid for them at opensecrets.org/politicians. They all, like most congress members, have had major donations from private industries.

  42. Frank8 months ago

    Balance the Budget and follow the Constitu tin Wow crazy stuff.

  43. don8 months ago

    NOTE: all known members are male except one, hmm.

  44. Richard8 months ago

    I’ve always liked PEW because they seem very unbiased in their research (perhaps ever so slightly left). However, the comments on here are mostly left leaning.

    As someone that’s more often right of center, I view the GOP largely as two sides: the Moderates and the Conservatives (Democrats are liberal and super-liberal only). The Moderates/ Liberals are largely the establishment.

    Conservatives are mad that the establishment never uphold any of the values of the GOP. Conservatives consist of those with extreme right leaning issues, the old GOP, the religious right, and constitutionalists.

    Me personally, I think the establishment needs a beat down!

    1. Laura8 months ago

      Interestingly as I’ve been going through the comments most of them so far have been extremely right leaning, must just be timing based on the top comments.

      As someone who is socially liberal and fiscally conservative that usually falls in the middle, I struggle to support almost any Republican candidate nowadays. It feels as if they are split into Conservative and Extreme Conservatives while Democrats feel more moderate and liberal. It feels as if Republicans are representing the loud minority instead of the majority of the party. For the most part though, I am anti-incumbent because too few of our politicians actually seem to be trying to run the government and support their constituents. Instead they are serving to their ideology or their ego.

      I’m curious to see how the presidential election falls because in order to get the Republican nomination the last few elections, candidates have to be so conservative, or appear that way. Then when they get to the presidential election, they either aren’t moderate enough, or can’t come back to the center enough to secure the election.

    2. G8 months ago

      Richard –

      It seems quite clear to me that your perception is significantly skewed to the right due to your far-right position. Most of the comments here are on the right, and data (even from this very article) shows that democrats are more centered – as opposed to you assertion that there are no left-leaning moderates. This seems to be a fairly common occurrence with you right-wingers.

  45. Howard8 months ago

    These so called representatives of the people. Could care less about anything but their owns selfish interests.

    1. SpfldJimbo8 months ago

      Don’t be so hard on the democrats, Howard.

  46. Gary8 months ago

    The so called “freedom caucas” is not a new phenomenon in politics. People who have rigid ideologies also feel that they are always right in their thinking and in their actions regardless of how their decisions may negatively impact others. I am always amazed how poltical advertising and rhetoric affect certain publics. For example, when it is stated that one politician will make a good president because he speaks his mind it makes me think that critical thinking skills may be lacking in some members of the electorate. Yet, such members continually vote against their own best interests by placing such people in office. Such appears to be the case with the freedom caucas.

    1. Cailin8 months ago

      You are so right, Gary. Such groups attach themselves to an ideology – liberal or conservative – thereby gaining even more power for themselves.

      I’m not sure whether people are any less critical thinking today than they were, say, 50 years ago. I do think the electorate has become less informed since the 1960’s, however.

    2. Kevin Taylor8 months ago

      @ gary,
      Right or wrong our representatives are charged with representing their constituency without regard for the eventual outcome. I elected my rep to represent not to consider impacts. If I’m wrong in my position then I pay, and will likely evolve to a place of greater comfort, and apparently somewhere where my politics do not bother you or anyone else.
      All of this consternation with our elected representatives can rightfully be placed at the feet of the voters -if our representatives did their job properly.

  47. Rod8 months ago

    IMHO, the House Freedom Caucus along with their Senate counterpart are so out of touch with reality that they should form their own third-party.

    These Tea-Baggers and their minions, with their “exploit the middle class and working poor” philosophy so that they can provide more corporate welfare and help the rich get richer, are an embarrassment to the Republican Party. They are more interested in lining their own pockets with ill-gotten gains from the corporate lobby and high-net-worth donors, than they are in solving the pressing problems of our once great nation.

    Their negotiating strategy of “if I can’t have it my way, I’ll take my ball and go home” is so counter-productive and is so pathetic and amateurish as to be laughable and is a further embarrassment to the party of Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln, two true leaders and experts at gaining consensus.

    To the highest degree possible the leadership of the Republican Party should purge these misfits from any committee chairmanships and other positions of power in the Congress. The are, simply put, unworthy of any leadership role.

    1. Scott8 months ago

      What are you smoking?
      your charge that the Freedom caucus and other Tea Party conservatives are interested in crony capitalism and ” “exploit(ing) the middle class and working poor” is crazy.
      That is the establishment you’re talking about. The grassroots Tea Party IS the middle class and working poor.
      This caucus is a group of those that support We The People.

  48. Lorraine8 months ago

    I would be interested to see if you could also give the demographic profile of each of their districts. Predominately white? Income, level of education, age and percent of registered Republicans. By overlaying this info I believe we would get the true picture of what and who shapes these guys motivations.
    A pluralistic government should still be a fair government.

    1. TeaBlindMice8 months ago

      I would guess 90% WASP.

    2. Drew DeSilver8 months ago

      Hi, Lorraine: We just posted such an analysis today – check it out here:
      pewrsr.ch/1M8kN9l

  49. DSmith8 months ago

    Imagine, a mere 36+ members of Congress can obstruct and hold hostage the running of the United States of America. And, they’re mostly newly-elected. I wonder what happened to “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Granted, there are presently many things to worry about in our country and many among us are disenfranchised. It appears, however, that the Freedom Caucus is capitalizing on this for their own small-minded, radical beliefs. I hope that the next Speaker of the House can pull this body together so we can realize a successful running of our government.

    1. constituent8 months ago

      “obstruct”, “hold hostage”, “small-minded”, and “radical”. Divisive terms used for these few folks trying to keep their representative vote count. From what I know they are less encumbered by lobbyists and establishment pressure to just keep the sweet deals rolling for those paying for it. My impression is that they are more transparently trying to represent their constituency — isn’t that their pure job?

    2. constituent8 months ago

      This biggest discerning contrast in the data is that these members are newly-elected to Congress. They seem to be representing their constituency more than the impetus to maintain status-quo of the lobby-powered establishment. They don’t get extra pay to be berated, ostracized, and branded obstructionists. Perhaps, like Trump supporters, they are better reflecting the growing irritation of the people who recently elected them into office.

    3. Christopher8 months ago

      About 40,000 new laws are added each year by Congress – and most of those benefit corporations, limit your freedom, unwisely spend your money, or some combination of all of the above.

      Is this your measure of a “successful running of our government”?

      While everyone else is complaining about a so-called “ineffective” government, I applaud a Congress that falls short of the status quo.

    4. Judy8 months ago

      Not hard to imagine. Harry Reid has been doing so singlehandedly.

    5. SpfldJimbo8 months ago

      “Successful running of our government”?
      What island were you stranded on for the last 10 years?

    6. Betty8 months ago

      When elected to Political office it means you must be willing to work with
      your Republican members for the good of the COUNTRY–in many cases
      that means compromise. To shut down the government is Political suicide.

  50. stinky8 months ago

    So the freedom caucus is in other words are a modern day Lynch mob. If they don’t like you they get rid of you. Wow the kkk of politics.

    1. Judy8 months ago

      I prefer to look at them as modern-day realists who want to perform their duties as the Founding Fathers, Constitution, Bill of Rights —- dictate. However, I must confess: my opinion comes from reading publications from both left and right, watching their TV news, reviewing and comparing history with our current situation, associating with and listening to different-minded individuals. That is so much better for me than being a part of a clique who talk buzz words, commiserate with each other because they feel put-upon, etc., etc., etc.

  51. Steve8 months ago

    The deliberate destruction of our Constitution, BORs, and Parliamentary Procedures within Congress has got to stop. If Paul Ryan wants the “Vacate the Chair” option thrown out because he feels threatened by it, what’s to stop him or the next person to say that they don’t like when people oppose their ideas or agenda as Speaker, Representative, Senator, etc, so let us water down, modify, or get rid of parts of the entire First Amendment. With all that’s happening today — by both sides of the aisle — that is not such a far-fetched nightmarish idea anymore. Stand up and say NO to Paul Ryan.

  52. Patrick Colville8 months ago

    Paul Ryan must not be the speaker. He stands in opposition to what most republican voters support. Not only that, he seems to think it’s a 40 hour a week job and then go home to the family. We need someone a little more dedicated to the job (and the country). He would be a terrible choice.

  53. smith18 months ago

    The conservatives are now getting a voice and the establishment is coming out with knives, dirty tricks, and more misinformation. The caucus should stick to their conservative principles, find a speaker that will move away from bigger, unaccountable government AND stop illegal immigration – which is a drain on taxpayers and a negative force to decent wages.

  54. Jean Adam8 months ago

    Dear Freedom Caucus: Please do NOT allow Paul Ryan to become Speaker. He is already making demands to change the rules of the Senate. Also, he supports amnesty which is a big no-no for our next Speaker.

  55. Andy Andrews8 months ago

    I respectfully ask that you not consider Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House. This appointment would be a desaster and would only further the RINO agenda as we know it.

  56. Daniel Serrano8 months ago

    Wow. It would be very informative to have some info about who is funding their campaigns. Also, how can public servants, representatives of the people, refuse to give an official list of membership and hold meetings in private? That’s not democratic.

  57. Aligatorman8 months ago

    I would be interested in knowing exactly what the Freedom Caucus believes in. Do they truly understand freedom as their name implies. Do they believe in any tax system other than the consumption tax? If so then what logical basis do they set forth for supporting it? Do they believe in democracy only as it pertains to protecting private property, protecting against fraud, and environmental protection and that anything outside of this is not left open for democratic vote but only free choice of the individual? Note that this includes individual choice on all drugs, prostitution, non-regulated produce, non-regulated healthcare, etc. whether as an individual you agree with it or not. It also means not robbing anyone of their money to support any program that doesn’t support these protections. If they don’t support these things then I have to say that they don’t understand freedom and believe more in our freedom to do what they darn well tell us to do. In this case they would be no different than typical Republicans and Democrats. I really don’t know where they stand on all issues. But if they do really support the true nature of freedom then I say fight to the death. If they don’t then I say fight them to the death.

  58. C. A. Bangert8 months ago

    NO NO NO on Paul Ryan We do not need his kind of thinking. Let him stay where he is or just go home. I want a real conservative.

  59. afl18 months ago

    Thank you for this informative article. Next stop: Go searching for more info on what this group’s goals are, since, strategically speaking, it appears that its impact is that of ensuring that the conservative movement loses all credibility. If I could address the Freedom Caucus, I’d say, “hey FC. Please play in the sandbox and realize that your stubborn insistence on having it all go your way is a sure-fire strategy for losing any remaining credibility for conservative values.”

    1. constituent8 months ago

      Soooo…continually letting gross spending conditions pass on to get along gains “conservative credibility”? What’s the point in even showing up then? They represent a people who don’t want to keep Boehner’s ineffective method of implementing conservatism so they are doing something to correct this. It’s now understandable why some people are bothered by this resistance — they don’t want anything to really change.

  60. Jimmy K8 months ago

    Can the RNC remove the members of the Freedom Caucus from membership in the Republican Party? It would appear to be advantageous to do so in that this minority group is putting their ideology ahead of national interest and is keeping the Republican Party from effective governance in the House of Representatives.

    1. disgusted8 months ago

      All I want to know is how many of these pompous bullies are up for re-election in 2016. Forget thinking voting for President is important …..we need to vote these obstructionists OUT of office. Doesn’t matter who the President is … can’t conceive why people …. media …pundits, etc. are not making an issue of who is in this disgusting group and focusing on each one. Think it would be a great project for CNN to take on. Throw the bums out !!!!

      1. DK Southern8 months ago

        Congress is a 2-year term, which means they are essentially campaigning 24-7. I notice in many of the posts that are supportive of the FC (I have trouble using the name they like to call themselves) there are often implied threats that if you don’t stay in line with what the caucus says, not only will they not support you, they will come after you. Now, isn’t this the very approach they say they hate so much in the so-called “establishment”?

  61. Jim Hynes8 months ago

    Say NO to Paul Ryan for speaker! Stand your ground, your doing a great job, you have the support of the majority of the people ( don’t forget that). Ryan is a 55% congressman who going to demand conditions. NO WAY. We can do a lot better!

    1. Christopher lynch8 months ago

      The fact that a small minority of representatives think that they should get their way instead of majority rule shows them to not believe in our democratic republic but only in their narrow view. This is unAmerican

      1. Jake8 months ago

        These Representatives were ignored by John Boehner and if he didn’t ignore them, he threw them off of committees if they weren’t in lock-step with what he was pushing. These members need to have a voice just like the rest of the House.

        Boehner was not leadership material. Paul Ryan doesn’t seem to be either by demanding things be his way or the highway. He’s tough with these members, but sat there like a dunce “debating” Joe Biden.

      2. Christopher8 months ago

        Actually, this IS the American way. To protect the rights of the minority from the majority.

        1. Cailin8 months ago

          Actually, it’s to protect the rights of the majority from an elitist minority.

  62. Lance savage8 months ago

    It is very interesting that a group of ultra conservative members of congress band together to rebel against the established leadership and refuse to dialogue or compromise with anyone who does share their views. This gang ironically calls itself a “freedom caucus” while denying freedom to any views that differ from their own. They actively seek to undermine the freely elected President of the United States as well as the principles of democracy. They clearly assume they know THE truth for all who live in this country and somehow believe it is the will of all Americans for them to have their way. Interesting too is that membership in this “freedom caucus” is kept secret. So we have a secret gang of ideological fascist thugs who seek to actively undermine and overthrow the elected President, anyone who disagrees with them, any reasonable dialogue and compromise, and who actively seek to undermine democratic process in the House of Representatives. With Lincolns’ quote on the wall of a ‘house divided against itself can not stand’, this secret gang must agree with Putin or ISIS or other enemies of America. Perhaps we should require candidates for office to be assessed for emotional & social intelligence as well as cognitive (IQ) abilities and share the results with prospective voters.

    1. Christopher lynch8 months ago

      Much better expressed than my post, nice work

    2. Christopher8 months ago

      Wow. That post was loaded with bold assumptions! The Freedom Caucus doesn’t not pretend to be fighting for all of the American people. In fact, if ANY politician tells you that, he/she is full of crap. HFC members are from heavily conservative districts, and they are fighting for the values held by their constituents. They’re not undermining the democratic process, they are excising it! THAT is exactly what the US House is meant to be about. You are absolutely allowed to disagree, but the hateful rhetoric in this post highlights your ignorance on this issue.

      You challenge their intellect, but they are ONLY able to do what they are doing because they are the smartest guys in the room. They know House rules and procedures back to front – and they’re creative in getting what they want.

      1. Cailin8 months ago

        Christopher, how you delude yourself.

        They have the ability to convince their constituents they have the power to bring them out of their misery, just as their counterparts on the far left have done.

        There are all kinds of intelligence. Con artists are very creative in getting what they want. But in the end, they aren’t the smartest, they eventually trip themselves up, even betraying those who trusted them.

        Those with social and emotional skills, as well as cognitive abilities, are the ones who will stand the test of time.

    3. DanSilverAg8 months ago

      With all Due respect Lance, we live in a republic, not a pure democracy. HFC members are doing their constituents bidding. So contrary to your fascist thugs charge-a discriptor far more In tune to establishmentarianist DC ruling elite- the HFC are acting in line with what they were elected to do.

      The people elected a GOP majority in both houses to counter the socio-fascist American hating agenda of Obama and the rats of the democrats. The GOP has failed to execute on the mandate the electorate gave them. Therefore the GOP leadership, more responsive to corporatists and acquiescing to the minority part agenda, deserve to be removed and fought.

      To reiterate, we live in a republic with diverse views, and true conservative/freedom centered legislation has not been moved forward In spite of election results. So step off and deal with it or move to Venezulea.

    4. Nikki8 months ago

      Not to be ugly but it would be great if there were published psychological profiles of all elected officials. When the majority of Americans oppose illegal immigration, Obamacare etc you have to wonder why our elected officials keep passing bills that allow more, more, more!! After reading the posts on here it would seem that the majority of you do not want a democracy but tyranny. Did any one of you have a problem with the fact that our government is funding studies for shrimp on treadmills? And OUR elected officials passed it? Does it not bother you that Nancy Pelosi said a bill had to be passed before OUR elected officials could know what was in it? Does it not bother you that your tax dollars are funding welfare for millions of people including illegal immigrants? I am thrilled that any elected official would stand up and say NO!

    5. SARJames8 months ago

      Wow, you just described the Progressive Socialist, Marxist, Communist, BlameAmerica First, PC snobs that are currently in power and are incrementally destroying our country. Get your facts straight, the Freedom Caucus members are NOT right wing extremists as everyone would love to portray them as……they ARE patriotic, freedom loving, Constitution loving, humble, public servants who believe in America, its founding documents and the PEOPLE they represent. They ARE…..the GOOD guys!! Period. I personally, care deeply what happens to my country, for the sake of our children, grandchildren and all future generations. That they might have what our founders intended, and NOT what the corrupt among us have successfully SHOVED down our throats since the days of Wilson. God Bless those who stand for America and All who love her!

      1. Cailin8 months ago

        Seriously? Are you saying that other GOP conservatives have become corrupted and therefore worthy of undermining by these GOOD guys? You think their strong arm tactics in shutting down the government really serves the constituents they represent? Are you saying they are the only purists when it comes to freedom, patriotism, the Constitution, humility, etc.? Do you honestly believe they were elected solely on these issues? If you look at the demographic survey above, you’ll find their constituents divided 50-50 between cooperation and confrontation.

        1. SARJames8 months ago

          Yes, but today I have lost faith in all the so called conservatives, as Paul Ryan announced he will run for Speaker after putting out on Tuesday…..his DEMANDS. Ryan stated we must not be the party of Opposition……..are you freaking kidding me? Republicans have NOT done anything for conservatives. They have spoke as such, but when they act, it is as though they are Progressives. Harry Reid supports Paul Ryan…..NUF said. To TOP the day off, you have Hillary lying her face off, and no one points out the glaring truth. Bad day all around for America. Our children and grandchildren will curse our generation for sitting idly and allowing the promise of America to be destroyed.