The House Freedom Caucus, the group of about 40 über conservatives that previously was best known for being the slayer of Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and its take-no-prisoner approach to politics, has looked so pathetically weak over the past 24 hours that you have to ask whether they should still be taken seriously.
Former HFC Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) and its current Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) introduced a resolution on Wednesday calling for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s impeachment.
Given that Donald Trump considers Rosenstein to be one of his chief nemeses, that most House Republicans always seem to want to prove and re-prove their loyalty to the president and that the HFC used to be feared, it might have seemed safe to assume that the Jordan/Meadows impeachment plan had lots of support in the GOP caucus.
Except that it absolutely didn’t.
The resolution only had 11 co-sponsors. Not even a majority of the members of the House Freedom Caucus were willing to put their names on this supposedly major Trump-pleasing initiative that was authored by their immediate past and current chairman.
Saying the House Freedom Caucus has been neutered
is not an understatement.
And this wasn’t even that major of an initiative. Jordan and Meadows abandoned their take-no-prisoners approach by introducing a bill that wasn’t “privileged.” That made a vote on their plan totally dependent on the House Republican leadership agreeing to it.
And less than 24 hours after Jordan and Meadows introduced their non-privileged bill, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) — Boehner’s successor — slammed and double-locked the door on it saying there would be no vote. Ryan was direct and unambiguous with no doubt that about where he stood.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions also publicly supported Rosenstein.
All this comes months after the HFC lost considerable influence on what used to be its top priority — the federal budget.
As I wrote back in February, the budget deal removed the prime legislative weapon — the debt ceiling — the Freedom Caucus had used multiple times to get what it wanted and completely ignored its demand that federal domestic discretionary spending be cut.
Another very strong HFC preference—tax cuts—won’t happen again this year.
And with the House and Senate leadership deciding not to do a budget resolution this year, there can’t be reconciliation and, therefore, no action on two other HFC hot issues –repealing the Affordable Care Act and cutting Medicare and Medicaid.
At this point, the only thing worse for the Freedom Caucus will be if they’re part of a GOP minority and, therefore, have absolutely no impact on the House’s agenda. Based on the most recent polls, that may only be months away.
In the meantime, saying the House Freedom Caucus has been neutered is not an understatement.
Don’t Leave Just Yet…There’s so much more here: