LETTER: Freedom Caucus — and Perry — foster dysfunction
We can attribute much of today’s congressional dysfunction to our own U.S. Rep. Scott Perry and his fellow members of the Freedom Caucus. Perry is the only Pennsylvania congressman in this “illustrious “ group of 31 ultra-conservatives.
Over the years, the Caucus has repeatedly demanded more while refusing to compromise. In 2013, a group of conservatives who later became part of the Freedom Caucus won major concessions on the farm bill, and then still voted against it. In 2015, the Caucus made demands for a free-trade bill that were clearly intended to kill the legislation. Their demands were not met and the bill passed without their support.
Adam Kinzinger, Republican from Illinois, said “It’s what the (Freedom Caucus) do: They move the goal posts, and once that happens, they still refuse to play. We are the Charlie Brown party, hoping that this time, things will be different. But time and again, the Freedom Caucus is Lucy — pulling the ball out from under us, letting us take the fall and smiling to them for making a splash. It’s a cheap tactic, not a way to govern, and enough is enough.”
It’s something that I think has only become more intense, more conspicuous, because of the divisive personality of President Donald Trump. Democrats feel that they are under a very heavy obligation to defend the norms and the institution of our government. While Republicans feel that Congress was elected with a mandate to bring about change and defend their president.
I encourage Republicans to listen to the words of your former speaker. In October 2017, Vanity Fair published an interview with former Speaker John Boehner, who said of the Freedom Caucus: "They can’t tell you what they’re for. They can tell you everything they’re against. They’re anarchists. They want total chaos. Tear it all down and start over. That’s where their mindset is.”
Keeping Boehner’s warning in mind, both Republicans and Democrats need to ban together to vote out Freedom Caucus ultra- conservative, Scott Perry, and vote in a more compassionate and moderate candidate.