• Freedom Caucus Says Process is What Matters
  • October 26, 2015
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • There has been a lot of talk over the last several weeks about the 30 to 40 members who make up the very conservative House Freedom Caucus. They are credited with bringing down outgoing Speaker John Boehner and ending the speaker’s bid of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). The real question, of course, is what exactly does the Freedom Caucus want? And what will it take to quell their rebellion?

    Well, if you listen to Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), one of the leaders of the Freedom Caucus, the answer might surprise you. Amash says what matters most to him and his fellow Freedom Caucus members isn’t policy driven. No, he says it’s all about process.

    Indeed, Amash says that their beef with Boehner wasn’t about the debt ceiling or Planned Parenthood funding or the Export-Import Bank. Amash says their beef with Boehner was over House rules.

    In a townhall meeting in his district this week, Amash said, “The problem isn’t that he [Boehner] isn’t conservative enough. The problem is he doesn’t follow the process. He operated a top-down system, and still operates a top-down system because he hasn’t stepped down yet. Which means that he figures out what outcome he wants, and he goes to the individual members and attempts to compel and coerce us to vote for that outcome.”

    Amash says he and his fellow Freedom Caucus members would like more amendments and no more end runs to fast-track legislation to the House floor.

    Amash says they are seeking a return to "regular order," which would mean allowing legislation and amendments to flow through committees in a deliberative way, and giving individual members a chance to offer amendments and to have their ideas voted on the House floor.

    Others see what the Freedom Caucus is doing very differently. Allies of Boehner say he has followed the rules, that he has tried whenever possible to respect the committee process and that he has always been willing to listen to and respect the opinions of others in his conference.

    Boehner allies say that what the Freedom Caucus has done is hold the GOP majority hostage as they push for ideological policy ends - not simply process changes.