The House Freedom Caucus, a coalition of fiscally conservative legislators in the House of Representatives, has issued a leadership endorsement against establishment choice Rep. Kevin McCarthy.
The group of hardline conservatives passed on endorsing the California Republican in favor of a long-shot bid from Rep. Daniel Webster — in hopes of securing fundamental changes to how the House operates.
…[I]t’s a strong signal that conservatives aren’t happy with McCarthy’s campaign to this point, and they’re going to try and move him closer to the far-right flank of the party — the same group that rebelled against GOP leadership and helped force Speaker John Boehner’s retirement.
…The Freedom Caucus has four big asks for Republican leaders. They want proportional representation on the influential Steering Committee, they want the National Republican Congressional Committee to spend more money in conservative districts and see increased membership for HFC lawmakers on top-tier committees.
Regardless of whether or not Rep. McCarthy wins the speaker position, conservatives are sending a message loud and early that they demand a seat at the table to set the GOP legislative agenda.
McCarthy is not expressing concern about the endorsement, telling the Washington Post:
“I look forward to being able to get their votes,” he said. “My door is always open. Every voice needs to be heard. I’m very confident we’ll all get back together.”
While McCarthy decides whether or not he wants to make nice with House conservatives, he should acknowledge the lessons learned from Boehner’s failed legacy: you may not like the growing coalition of true fiscal conservatives and libertarians in the House, but it’s almost impossible to work without them.