GOP frustration builds with Freedom Caucus floor tactics

Source: The Hill | May 20, 2022 | Emily Brooks

Some GOP lawmakers are getting frustrated with the hard-line tactics of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

Members of the group have forced recorded votes on normally noncontroversial bills on the suspension calendar, forcing lawmakers to hang around the chamber for hours to get their votes in rather than conduct other business.

It led to a confrontation on Tuesday night during a 2 1/2-hour vote series on 13 separate measures between Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, and Reps. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Scott Perry (R-Pa.), the chairman of the Freedom Caucus.

Republicans gave different accounts of just how heated a discussion took place.

One source familiar with the situation said Rogers, with a raised voice, said that there will be consequences or repercussions for members of the Freedom Caucus if the delaying tactics continue. A GOP member on the floor at the time of the exchange confirmed that version of events.

Rogers, however, told The Hill that he didn’t make any threats and insisted that the conversation was not heated on his part.

He said that he told the Freedom Caucus members: “​​I’m just telling y’all, just giving you a heads up, you’re getting a lot of ill will around here. This stuff will come back to you. You just can’t do this to people and think that they’re not going to remember it.”

“I just was being, you know, a senior member trying to help members understand, what goes around comes around in this place,” Rogers said. 

Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), who is not in the Freedom Caucus, were also present for the exchange.

Bills and resolutions considered under suspension of the rules have historically passed by voice vote, often with few members in the House chamber. They account for the majority of bills passed in modern Congresses. But Freedom Caucus members last year started demanding recorded votes for those bills, drastically changing the pace of floor action.

Perry and Roy in a joint interview argued that most all bills deserve a recorded vote, that it gives more time for members to review the legislation and that leadership often sneaks through controversial bills as suspension bills. Members should not be considered as on record supporting a bill that passed by voice vote if they did not get a chance to vote on it, they say.

“What ought to happen in this body, irrespective of what we’re doing at any particular moment, is we ought to have a consensus on a fair way to move bills through appropriately, where we start with the default position of voting, and you’re only moving something by voice or consent when there’s universal agreement that is unobjectionable,” Roy said.

Freedom Caucus members have also argued that the tactic helps slow down and delay Democrats’ agenda.

The suspension bills need support from two-thirds of the House to pass, and because of the requests for recorded votes, some of the measures have failed due to GOP opposition.


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