The House Freedom Caucus is formally announcing its token opposition to the big government debt ceiling and budget deal that the House will vote on later in the day. But it amounts to phony opposition designed to let the package through, because the organization won’t use the leverage it has in the Speakership election to stop the deal.
“The latest budget deal continues the sad pattern of the past five years: a fiscal monstrosity gets negotiated in secret with Obama, Reid, and Pelosi; the American people and their representatives get shut out of the process; and the bill is rushed through the House on short notice and without proper scrutiny or the ability to offer amendments,” the Freedom Caucus said in a statement.
This deal is an affront to open, accountable, and limited government. It plunges our nation into debt to the tune of nearly $20 trillion, busts the spending caps enacted by Congress just a few years ago, perpetuates our looming entitlement crisis by pilfering money from Social Security, and contains budget and accounting gimmicks that are manifestly fraudulent. The House Freedom Caucus strongly opposes this deal and will vote against it on the House floor.
The Freedom Caucus could stop the deal if the members of the organization actually wanted the deal to fail. All they would need to do is withdraw their previously announced “supermajority” support for House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) in the speakership election on the floor of the House on Thursday.
Ryan, who said on Tuesday he thinks the process by the which deal was struck “stinks,” is going to end up supporting the final deal. Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner, who Ryan is vying to replace in Thursday’s election on the House floor, negotiated the deal—which raises the debt ceiling until March 2017 and increases spending by nearly $100 billion over the next two years busting through previous budget caps—with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Barack Obama. The deal has always depended on the calculation that Boehner would use Democratic votes to pass it, as Politico’s Jake Sherman Tweeted on Wednesday.
Freedom Caucus is against budget deal. Sr members of the whip team said they were counting votes assuming all 40 something would vote no.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) October 28, 2015
So, essentially, the Freedom Caucus has been marginalized and made entirely irrelevant and useless in this process. The only leverage the organization has is in the Speakership election. If the group really wanted to stop the deal, they could tear Ryan’s Speakership candidacy down on the floor on Thursday—and block him from getting in. Even Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a 2016 GOP presidential candidate endorsed by many members of the Freedom Caucus, is calling on the members of the Freedom Caucus who have surrendered to Ryan and to big government to pick up their arms again and fight back against Ryan’s big government ploy.
“If Paul Ryan votes to bust the budget caps, the public may want to reconsider whether or not he represents a step forward,” Paul, who’s close with many Freedom Caucus members, told Breitbart News on Tuesday when asked if they should tank Ryan’s speakership bid on the floor over his support for this deal.
I think this deal is a steaming pile of the same old, same old and it stinks. I don’t think you can be a fiscal conservative and support busting the budget caps. I don’t think you can be a fiscal conservative and be liberal with military spending. I think each and every conservative should ask: Does Congress hate America?
There is talk conservative movement wide about disbanding the House Freedom Caucus since it no longer has any use to the movement and instead is technically wasting taxpayer dollars by existing. There are at least two full time staffers for the organization—press secretary Matt Buckham and executive director Steve Chartan—both of whom are paid with taxpayer cash. Buckham has openly refused to answer how much the taxpayers are paying him and Chartan, and if the two have any others alongside them being paid with tax dollars.
The way they get taxpayer-funded salaries is because the members of the House Freedom Caucus funnel significant membership fees into a giant government money pool that is then used to pay Buckham’s, Chartan’s and potentially other Freedom Caucus staffers’ salaries. Several House Freedom Caucus offices, including that of chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) through his spokesman Darin Miller, have not responded to requests for comment on how much taxpayer cash members of the Freedom Caucus are pouring into the organization.