The House Freedom Caucus finally has a chairman, and it is, as expected, Jim Jordan.
Members of the HFC met late Tuesday in an unnumbered Cannon House Office Building conference room to vote on the chairman and bylaws, as well as to discuss issues currently before Congress. Jordan was nominated to be chairman by fellow founding member Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, who is heading up a smaller group within the HFC to work on bylaws. In his nomination speech, Mulvaney noted that Jordan was a former Republican Study Committee chairman. But it wasn't as if Mulvaney had to make any real pitch; Jordan ran unopposed.
Already, Jordan was unofficially leading the caucus. Tuesday's unanimous vote just gives the Ohio Republican a more formal title — and further cements the 50-year-old lawmaker's standing as a leading conservative voice in the House.
Earlier Tuesday, when CQ Roll Call asked Jordan if tonight was the night the HFC would select its chairman — which was on its agenda — Jordan cagily replied, "You never know."
Mulvaney, who was walking alongside Jordan, jumped to his defense: "Could be a chairwoman," Mulvaney theorized.
Chairman or chairwoman questions aside, Jordan didn't seem concerned about the vote. "We're trying to actually impact policy and decisions," he said, mentioning that part of the agenda would also be discussions on Department of Homeland Security funding and the budget.
The HFC, which has cast itself as a more conservative version of the much larger RSC , already claims it forced GOP leaders to pull a border security measure from the floor last month. Since then, a number of Republicans have expressed frustration that the group could be more of a force for thwarting Republican leaders' attempts to govern than for imparting a conservative vision.
“They’re not legislators, they’re just assholes ,” a senior GOP aide previously told CQ Roll Call.
Either way, the HFC continues to push the GOP conference further to the right. And as Republican leadership grapples with a DHS funding bill that the Senate is being blocked from even proceeding to, the House Freedom Caucus could be instrumental in the continued insistence that the House not do anything until the Senate has acted on a bill.
Despite that, Senate GOP leadership is now insisting the House send another DHS funding bill to their chamber — one presumably without provisions blocking President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday that the next move "obviously is up to the House ."
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