The House Freedom Caucus is a rather unique entity. It is ideological, conservative, and strongly holds to an original view of the Constitution and government.
It is the vanguard in the rejection of the progressive political view of the Democrats and the establishment. This makes it hard to understand President Trump’s recent hostility stemming from the Freedom Caucus opposition to the Ryan Plan.
Trump’s campaign was based on opposition to the establishment. He called emphatically for the repeal of Obamacare.
“Among the never more than 537 people who are in Washington because they won elections, none are more threatening to tranquility than the few who are not desperate to be here”.
What the Freedom Caucus Stands For
They do not respond to the usual incentives for maintaining party discipline.
From National Review: By GEORGE WILL April 12, 2017
With a mellifluous name suggesting bucolic tranquility, Representative Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican, is an unlikely object of the caterwauling recently directed at him and the House Freedom Caucus he leads. The vituperation was occasioned by the HFC’s role rescuing Republicans from embracing an unpopular first draft of legislation to replace Obamacare.
A decisive blow against the bill was struck by the quintessential Republican moderate, New Jersey’s Rodney Frelinghuysen, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, whose family has included a member of the Continental Congress, four U.S. senators, and, in 1844, a vice-presidential nominee: “Hurrah! Hurrah! The country’s risin’, for Henry Clay and Frelinghuysen.”
Although just a little over two years old, the HFC signals a revival of congressional resistance to the dangerous waxing of executive power under presidents of both parties. The HFC is a rarity, a heartening political development: People giving priority to their legislative craft and institution rather than to a president of their party barking at them.
The HFC’s 30 members, and six others informally affiliated, are barely 8 percent of the House, but their cohesion is a force multiplier. The cohesion comes, Meadows says, from its members being “here for a purpose.” And, he adds dryly, from the fact that, for many, “this is not the best job they’ve ever had.” Among the never more than 537 people who are in Washington because they won elections, none are more threatening to tranquility than the few who are not desperate to be here. They do not respond to the usual incentives for maintaining discipline.
The HFC has rules, bylaws, and weekly meetings, often featuring experts on particular issues. HFC members have, Meadows believes, “a competitive advantage” in the House because they hone their arguments together in what Meadows calls “the best debating club on Capitol Hill.” If 80 percent of the HFC agree on an issue, it votes as a bloc, although members can receive two exemptions per Congress.
Meadows was contented as a businessman for whom politics was an avocation. About 30 years ago, he was the only person to attend a precinct meeting, thereby becoming the precinct’s chair. He rose in Republican ranks until redistricting after the 2010 census produced a congenial district, which he won in 2012.
In December 2014, he and a few others were disgusted by what was called “cromnibus.” This testimony to Congress’s normal dysfunction was a combination of a continuing resolution to keep the government running and an omnibus spending bill. Cromnibus was another of those “this is a binary choice, so you have no choice” moments. He and eight other conservatives chose to form a group of kindred spirits.