The “Freedom” Caucus Strikes!

Remember when you were a child (yeah, I know, it’s been a while, but try) and your mother told you to do something you did not want to do because … “It’s for your own good”?  Eventually we all came to our own conclusions about what is actually in our best interests … sometimes right, sometimes not, but our choice to make.  And now, our mother has turned into Mark Meadows, U.S. Representative for North Carolina’s 11th congressional district and chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.

Mark-Meadows

Mark Meadows, Freedom Caucus Chairman

“This is not a new theme that comes up: [Democrats] know that Republicans want to fund the military… so what they do is they hold that hostage in trying to get things that are not in the best interest of the American taxpayer …” – Mark Meadows, Chairman of House Freedom Caucus

What, you may ask, is he talking about?  He is referring to the democrats in Congress who are pushing for increased spending in areas besides the military.  Things like the environment, healthcare, social welfare programs, education, etc. Silly little things, really, that are designed to help keep people alive and well, and give people opportunities to better their lot in life.  But the Freedom Caucus is currently willing to risk a government shutdown in order to stop any increased spending other than military spending.

This is not the first time the Freedom Caucus has reared its ugly head, nor will it be the last, I’m certain. Interestingly, there are only 31 seats held by the House Freedom Caucus, yet they often create chaos within the GOP, for their demands are uber-conservative, far-right, and they are unbending.

The republicans are trying to pass a two-week stopgap to avoid a government shutdown on Friday, and give them time to work through the spending bill.  The spending bill cannot be addressed until the tax bill reconciliation is complete, and that, my friends, has run into a few glitches, not the least of which is there are serious errors in the bill due to the last minute changes that were penciled in last Friday night without a full review, as they shoved the bill through at the last minute.  So, they need additional time to hash out a spending bill, one that will require the support of at least 8 democrats.

However, the Freedom Caucus is refusing to agree to the two-week stopgap unless Paul Ryan agrees to a commitment to refuse Senate Democrats’ demands for increased spending on non-defense programs. Ryan, understanding that ultimately he will need the support of at least some of those democrats, is not willing to make such a commitment.  This  is what drove Mark Meadows statement about what is in the best interest of the taxpayer.

When we were young and our mothers told us what was good for us, that was acceptable, for she understood things that we didn’t and she loved us, so we knew that she was acting out of love. Today, however, we have grown up, most of us are well-educated both in academics and in the ways of the world, we are thinkers and quite capable of knowing what is in our best interests.  Mark Meadows and his cohorts are not operating out of love for us, but rather out of a desire to see this nation run by a military-industrial complex.

Democratic cooperation with the stopgap measure is also challenging, as Trump foolishly put his thumbs to his tweety-machine last Tuesday morning:

“Meeting with “Chuck and Nancy” today about keeping government open and working. Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!”

Bad move, for “Chuck and Nancy” promptly pulled out of the meeting. It must be very difficult for the few in the republican-led Congress who actually do have some common sense to operate when the buffoon in the White House undermines their every effort.

While I have very little respect for 90% of the republicans in Congress at the moment, those who are members of the House Freedom Caucus are the worst of the lot.  Rather than simply calling them the Freedom Caucus, which is rather vague, let me point them out specifically:

These are the men that think they know what is best for We The People.  These are the men who avidly sought to repeal environmental regulations, who fought hard to repeal ACA (Obamacare) without any viable replacement in sight.  These are the men who wish to cut spending on the programs that will help us live, while spending more of our hard-earned tax dollars on guns, planes, battleships, nuclear weapons, and other war toys, despite the fact that we already have by far the biggest military budget in the Western world.  It is interesting to note that these are all men … there is not a woman in the House Freedom Caucus.  Draw your own conclusions.

If there is a government shutdown at the end of the day on Friday, it is, in  part, due to the 32 men listed above, in part due to the rants of the madman in the Oval Office, and in part due to a Congress that simply have no concern for the ‘average American’.  Whose “freedom”, exactly, are they supporting? Not mine or yours, I think. Think about it.

20 thoughts on “The “Freedom” Caucus Strikes!

  1. Thanks for this enlightening article, Jill. I was not aware of the existence of the Freedom Caucus in the House. Does the Senate have such a group as well? I understand your angst and frustration. Groups like this don’t exist in the Canadian House of Commons. Party discipline here is very strict because a split in the governing party can bring down a government and force a new election. Unfortunately, some party leaders (like former Conservative Stephen Harper) take discipline to the extreme and demand that everyone in the party caucus clear comments to their constituents and the media with the leader’s office first. Harper muzzled his caucus for many years. This is why groups like Freedom Caucus do not exist in our system. In your system, the government can become deadlocked or unproductive, but elections take place at their scheduled times regardless.

    My article for tomorrow “What the World Needs Now Is… Respect” is completed and scheduled for publication Friday at 1:00 AM EST. Here’s the link: https://wp.me/p8lCQG-2zR

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks John! No, there is no equivalent in the Senate, and I’m not 100% sure why, but I suspect it has to do with a couple of things. First, they are a smaller body and seem to ‘play nicer’ together. Second, they are elected for 6-year terms, and only 1/3 of them are up for re-election in any given election year. So, there just seems to be no real incentive. The House Freedom Caucus is relatively new, came about as a result of the “Tea Party” movement a few years back that promotes far-right ideologies, and with a House of 435 members, every one up for re-election every other year, it is hard to get everybody moving in the same direction at any given time. But,, the Freedom Caucus doesn’t accomplish much, except to block moderate, sensible legislation. My fear is that these are exactly the sort of candidates Steve Bannon is seeking to put into office, so after next year’s mid-terms, we could end up with many more than the 32 we currently have. Personally, I think they are helping to destroy the GOP from within, but then what do I know?

      I couldn’t get your post from the link, but I see it is after 1:00, so I will pop over and take a look in a minute!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Donald Trump claims a new awakening of Christmas this year. With the impending shutdown, it seems his little Republican elves in Congress have no toys to give to the people this year except a tax windfall for the elite .

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Dear Jill,
    That freedom caucus is real pain in the back. They can be counted on to not give a hoot about whether there is a government shutdown during the Christmas season or not. They were useless in having any effect on the tax bill that was recently passed out of the House and so their reputation for fiscal conservatism is moot. They don’t deserve it.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree … I hope they all get the boot next year, but somehow I think the opposite will happen, for they are exactly the type that Steve Bannon is supporting, and he is willing to throw all his efforts and monies into getting those types elected. After the mid terms, there may well be twice as many in the Freedom Caucus as there are now. Sigh.

      Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. All the sh$% from the past couple of weeks has gotten to me. I have never been happier NOT to be American. I think I need to turn off all social media and news programs for the next couple of weeks. It’s so exhausting thinking that FINALLY things have gone too far, only to find out they haven’t. I can’t imagine how those of you who are reasonable down south get through the days…

    Liked by 1 person

    • And now you understand my near-constant angst. But then, you always did. Take a break, my friend. Neither of us can fix it, and you have enough troubles at work … you don’t need this b.s. too. Big HUGS, Emily!

      Like

  5. When I see just how big a hole your Country is in it surprises me to see men still out there digging. In the pleasurable thought of just how well they’ve done for themselves these days they’ve forgotten the purpose of being in the job. To take care of the U.S. and it’s people. Get off your arses senators, make your apologies to your empolyers and then start trying to make right the damage you’ve done in such a short space of time.. Get the public to look up to you for a change.,
    xxx Cwtch xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, and while they are digging with shovels and even big earth-moving machines, people like me, Gronda, Keith and others are trying to fill the holes with our only tool — teaspoons. Or perhaps slotted spoons. You hit the nail on the head when you say they have forgotten the purpose for them being in their jobs. They have also forgotten by whose good graces they are in the jobs, thinking it is only those wealthy donors to whom they owe fealty. But don’t hold your breath for them to start making amends, for they are busily plotting their next stragegy, and that is straight from the horses mouth. And so … yeah, sometimes I have an off day … who wouldn’t?
      xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A government shutdown around the holiday season may not be the wisest of moves. Where was the Freedom Caucus when this debt increasing Tax Bill was signed or the budget which permits a $1.5 trillion increase in the debt making way for the Tax Bill? Talk is cheap and as an Independent and former Republican, very, very few Republicans in Congress can claim to be good fiscal stewards.

    The dilemma facing all of us is we cannot cut our way out of our debt problem. We must increase revenue and make spending cuts. The math does not work otherwise. To many responsible, nonpartisan economic organizations say this and it is a key tenet of the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Committee recommendations. It detests me when the debt ceiling is increased this is the time people stand up and cry foul. How about when you pass the budget? That is the point of reckoning. That is when you need to be a good fiscal steward.

    The only progress we have made to the lessening the deficit is when Sequestration cuts hit because Congress was too dysfunctional to act, when the Bush tax cuts expired on the top end and when we stopped throwing so much military and money in the Middle East. Otherwise, we have done very little.

    Liked by 2 people

    • All good points, Keith. Back during the campaign, there was one rally by Trump where, when asked about the deficit, he said he would just have more money printed. That one statement proved to me that he did not even begin to comprehend economic/financial matters, and I cringed. Now it becomes clear that Congress is not much more savvy, disregarding the wrnings of nearly all the economists and financial gurus, not to mention the CBO. This is, as my friend Herb would say, a cluster #$%&, with no end in sight There are solutions, and they are, only on a larger scale, the same solutions you or I would use if our credit card debt were too high … tighten our belt on non-essentials, maybe take a part-time job for a few months to bring in additional revenue, perhaps even sell some of our unused things. But, they are enchanted, much as a child at Christmas, by the promise of shiny new toys, and are not hearing reason.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jill, I just used your friend’s term on Gronda’s recent post. These bills were passed when the economy has had over 100 consecutive months of growth, one of the longest ever. The stock market is at its peak and unemployment is low – now is not the time to stimulate the economy with tax cuts that will increase the debt. Trickle down economics is not a good strategy. Then you rush a partisan bill without hearings. There are things in the bill antagonistic to its mission. This is truly a “cluster” you know what and Republicans should be embarassed by these poor bills to help the haves. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ahhh … and here I was afraid of offending you and/or Hugh! Yes, my late husband used to have a saying: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Our economy at the moment, ‘ain’t broke’, but the GOP seems determined to make the rest of us broke!

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  7. Actually, Jillybean. I never bought that argument when I was growing up. Because, “it was for my own good”. As a parent I never used it on my kids or their friends or relatives. I would outline a good reason for taking them away from their childhood pleasure.

    It is truly sad that your politicians need a freedom caucus. It seems also that be the very antithesis in nature, of what it implies.

    “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose” ~ Kris Kristopherson

    It’s always the buzz words, ain’t it? Guaranteed to get ya’ all choking back the tears.

    Of course they have their gold-plated pensions and medical care, in their virtuous bleats? Don’t they? Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hah! No, I don’t picture you passively accepting your mum telling you to hold still and let her put the stingy stuff on your scraped knee ‘for your own good’. 😀 And you are right … “Freedom Caucus” … WHOSE freedom? Their freedom to play fast and loose with our money, without giving us a damn thing in return. Sigh. This is getting tiresome, yet it’s too important for us to just simply sit down and checkers. Cheers!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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