POLITICS

GOP Congressman Resigns From House Freedom Caucus, Upset With Government Shutdown Push

"This tactic promises only to shield Senate Democrats from their responsibility for a government shutdown."

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) broke with his fellow conservatives Wednesday and publicly came out against the idea of shutting down the federal government over funding for Planned Parenthood

The House Freedom Caucus is a relatively new group of conservative lawmakers who have been pushing GOP leaders to the right. On Wednesday afternoon, McClintock announced his resignation from the caucus, saying their stance on a possible shutdown is "counterproductive." From his letter to House Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio): 

For several months, Harry Reid and Senate Democrats have threatened to shut down the government on October 1st unless Congress unleashes another unsustainable cycle of tax increases and borrowing.  Last week, the House Freedom Caucus formally vowed to shut down the government over funding Planned Parenthood. 

 

I have strongly opposed the public funding of abortions throughout my 29 years in public office, but this tactic promises only to shield Senate Democrats from their responsibility for a government shutdown and to alienate the public from the pro-life cause at precisely the time when undercover videos of Planned Parenthood’s barbaric practices are turning public opinion in our favor.  I suspect this is why the leading pro-life organizations have been conspicuously unwilling to endorse the HFC position. [...]    

 

I feel honored to know and work with every member of the House Freedom Caucus.  I have never served with a group of patriots more devoted to our country and dedicated to restoring American founding principles.  However, I feel that the HFC’s many missteps have made it counterproductive to its stated goals and I no longer wish to be associated with it. 

 

McClintock also lamented the group's tactics on other legislative battles, saying it had stood in the way of multiple conservative bills and thus had "unwittingly become [Democratic House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi’s tactical ally." 

"Tom is a principled conservative and a valuable member of the House Republican Conference," Jordan said in a statement to The Huffington Post. "The House Freedom Caucus looks forward to continuing to work with him, as well as every one of our colleagues, to give a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them."

The federal government could shut down as soon as Oct. 1 if Congress doesn't agree on a spending agreement to keep it open.

The House Freedom Caucus, which has more than 40 members, has complicated efforts to achieve this goal because it has said it will oppose any measure that doesn't include a provision barring government funding of the reproductive rights group. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has insisted that there won't be another government shutdown. He has pointed out the simple reality that Democrats in the chamber -- as well as President Barack Obama -- won't go along with any spending bill that removes funding for Planned Parenthood, meaning that this tactic is impractical.

Some Planned Parenthood clinics perform abortions, but the vast majority of their work has nothing to do with the procedure. Additionally, Planned Parenthood is barred from using federal dollars for abortion

The government last shut down for a couple of weeks in 2013, an episode that Americans have said was mostly Republicans' fault

Read McClintock's full letter: 

September 16, 2015

 

Congressman Jim Jordan

Chairman, House Freedom Caucus

1524 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, D.C.  20515

 

HAND DELIVERED

 

Dear Jim:

 

            When the House Freedom Caucus formed in January, I fervently hoped that it would provide responsible and effective leadership to advance conservative principles in the House of Representatives.  

 

I know that every member of the HFC sincerely supports these principles, but as I have expressed on many occasions during our meetings, I believe the tactics the HFC has employed have repeatedly undermined the House’s ability to advance them.  Allow me to review a few examples.

 

On February 27th, we faced the imminent shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security over the funding of Obama’s unlawful amnesty orders for illegal immigrants.  Although the American people overwhelmingly opposed these orders, they also overwhelmingly opposed shutting down DHS.  House Republicans attempted to pass a three-week stop gap bill so we could avoid a catastrophic shutdown of our security agencies while continuing to bring public opinion to bear to de-fund the orders.  At the behest of its board, most HFC members combined with House Democrats to defeat this effort, resulting in the full funding of these illegal orders for the fiscal year.

 

In May, the House had the opportunity to adopt the most important free trade bill in nearly two decades, restoring the long-standing and essential process that has made it possible for our nation to negotiate free trade agreements with other nations.  At the behest of its board, most HFC members combined with the vast majority of House Democrats in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat this legislation. 

 

Last week, the House was scheduled to adopt the Resolution of Disapproval of the disastrous Iran nuclear agreement – the only legally binding action available to Congress under the Corker Act.  Once again, the House Freedom Caucus leadership threatened to combine with House Democrats to defeat the Resolution, forcing the House leadership to abandon it in favor of a symbolic and legally meaningless vote.  Ironically, while Harry Reid and Senate Democrats blocked a vote on the Resolution of Disapproval in the Senate, the House Freedom Caucus leadership was instrumental in blocking its consideration in the House.

 

For several months, Harry Reid and Senate Democrats have threatened to shut down the government on October 1st unless Congress unleashes another unsustainable cycle of tax increases and borrowing.  Last week, the House Freedom Caucus formally vowed to shut down the government over funding Planned Parenthood. 

 

I have strongly opposed the public funding of abortions throughout my 29 years in public office, but this tactic promises only to shield Senate Democrats from their responsibility for a government shutdown and to alienate the public from the pro-life cause at precisely the time when undercover videos of Planned Parenthood’s barbaric practices are turning public opinion in our favor.  I suspect this is why the leading pro-life organizations have been conspicuously unwilling to endorse the HFC position.    

 

A common theme through each of these incidents is a willingness – indeed, an eagerness – to strip the House Republican majority of its ability to set the House agenda by combining with House Democrats on procedural motions.  As a result, it has thwarted vital conservative policy objectives and unwittingly become Nancy Pelosi’s tactical ally. 

 

I feel honored to know and work with every member of the House Freedom Caucus.  I have never served with a group of patriots more devoted to our country and dedicated to restoring American founding principles.  However, I feel that the HFC’s many missteps have made it counterproductive to its stated goals and I no longer wish to be associated with it. 

 

Accordingly, I resign.

 

Sincerely,

 

                                                           

Tom McClintock

 

 

 


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