Freedom Works, the national policy and logistics hub for Tea Party and conservative activists, called on House Republicans to postpone their scheduled election for leadership positions, including for Speaker of the House, until December.
“After a chaotic election cycle, the House Republican Conference should take some time to reassess and reflect on what the future of the GOP will be,” said FreedomWorks CEO Adam Brandon, whose Washington-based organization advocates for the principles of smaller government, lower taxes, free markets, personal liberty, and the rule of law.
Before leaving for its current recess, the GOP-led House of Representatives and the GOP-led Senate voted to continue funding the federal government through Dec. 9 with the same programs and funding levels they agreed to give President Barack Obama for fiscal year 2015.
The House did not pass a budget for fiscal year 2016, and instead allowed the Senate to “gut and replace” a House-passed appropriation for the running of the legislative branch to create a so-called continuing resolution that expired one week before Congress goes on a Christmas recess.
The gut-and-replace maneuver preserved the constitutional requirement for all tax and spending bills to originate in the House. The most notorious example of this maneuver was the president’s healthcare reform legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, HR 3590, which passed the House as a bill to help veterans buy their own homes: Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009.
Capitol Hill conservatives railed against ending the continuing resolution in the middle of the lame duck session of Congress, when retiring and defeated congressmen and senators are often motivated to set themselves for private life, rather than the best solutions for the American people.
Conservatives wanted a Long-CR, which would have ended in March and would have allowed the new president and Congress to settle in before addressing the final 2016 programs and funding levels. Their concerns were ignored by the Republican leadership, which pushed through its Short-CR.
Brandon said before the House Republicans vote for their leadership team, conservatives want to see how they handle the Short-CR and other legislative items in the lame duck.
“Will the conference fight for conservative priorities in the lame duck and into the next Congress? Or will it continue down the path of the status quo that has frustrated conservative grassroots activists across America,” he asked.
Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.) was the man who made certain the Short-CR passed, so conservatives want to watch him closely in the legislative action between the election and the swearing in of the new Congress, Brandon said.
“Sadly, Speaker Ryan supported a lame duck session of Congress, which means there is still work to be done by the House in November and December,” he said.
“The extent to which Speaker Ryan fights for fiscal sanity and conservative priorities in the upcoming funding battle are key to understanding whether the House Republican Conference will produce a bold conservative policy agenda and fight to move it through next Congress or whether the status quo, in which government continues to grow and more debt and deficits are piled on taxpayers, will be maintained.”