The newly formed House Freedom Caucus will push back against soft Republican efforts to simply pass bills and instead will pursue a true conservative agenda, Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) tells Breitbart News.
“The way we get success [for conservatism] is not accepting milquetoast, middle of the road legislation that really doesn’t do anything, but that we fight for our principles and even if we lose on the vote, we continue to build support among our countryman that, ‘Hey this is the way we go,’” Fleming explained in an interview Monday.
Fleming, one of the nine founding members of the House Freedom Caucus, argued that demonstrating what true conservatism looks like will serve to increase the ranks of conservatives in elected office.
“And just keep coming at it, keep passing bills that are strongly Republican,” he continued. “We’ll keep sending more and more conservatives to Washington and we’ll eventually get these bills passed. But don’t be afraid to pass good, strong conservative legislation.”
The House Freedom Caucus, founded by some of the House’s more conservative members, officially launched Monday.
It’s mission statement focuses on the idea that the group represents what the people want, giving “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.”
According to Fleming, the founding members saw a need for a more activist conservative body as they realized that the conservative Republican Study Committee had gotten too large and its members were not necessarily conservative enough.
“I think among different members there had been concerns that the RSC had grown so large and it had many members who really didn’t have that conservative voting records, which really is a testimony to what a positive brand conservatism is,” Fleming said. “Everybody who is a Republican wants to call themselves conservative even if they don’t necessarily vote that way”
The idea was to create a group that could help to encourage House leadership to more conservative principles.
“This is a way of kind of refocusing, redefining and making sure we know where we want to go as a conservative group of Republicans and provide leadership in that way,” he said.
Fleming explained that the idea is to be a positive force for conservatism and encouraging the conference to follow through.
“The biggest complaint that I get is: Why do you guys buckle at the last minute,” he said pointing to the recent funding of executive amnesty with the cromnibus late last year as an example.
“Not just our base but many across America who are independents and really swing voters are just so frustrated that we claim to do one thing and we end up doing something much shorter than that. And so that is really what we’re about is delivering on what we promised the American people, even what our leadership is promising,” Fleming said.
The new caucus had several meetings already and has had between 30-40 members attend the group meetings discussing the formation of the caucus, Fleming said.
Membership will be by invitation and, in order to fund the endeavor, require members to pay dues.
“We want to be sure that those who join us are truly conservative,” Fleming explained. “That they have a history — in the case of freshman through their rhetoric, through their beliefs and ideals of being conservatives. Or members who have a true voting record that reflects that. We want to be sure that, again, people are not joining us just to be called conservative, that they really intend to be an activist in that pursuit.”
Other founding members of the group include: Reps. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Justin Amash (R-MI), Raúl Labrador (R-ID), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Mark Meadows (R-NC).