Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 24, 2014

Posts in "FreedomWorks"

June 13, 2014

FreedomWorks Wants Labrador for Majority Leader

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Rep. Raul R. Labrador, R-Idaho, could run for majority leader. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Momentum is growing for a Majority Leader Raúl R. Labrador.

The Idaho Republican and current rank-and-file congressman is being courted by conservative colleagues and outside groups to get into the race for the No. 2 House Republican slot.

On Friday, the tea party affiliated advocacy group FreedomWorks entered the fray, calling on its members to rally together to urge Labrador to take on Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., currently the only declared candidate to succeed outgoing Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., who unexpectedly lost his primary Tuesday night. Full story

May 5, 2014

Export-Import Bank Issue Heating Up Among Conservatives, on and off Capitol Hill

Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips has a message for House Republicans: When the Export-Import Bank approaches its Sept. 30 expiration date, do nothing.

“We’re asking Congress to do something it does exceeding well,” Phillips wryly told a room of allies and reporters on Capitol Hill on Monday. “Just don’t do anything.”

The call to inaction was echoed by several other speakers on hand representing Heritage Action for America, Americans for Tax Reform and FreedomWorks, among others. The coalition of conservative groups strongly oppose the reauthorization of the institution designed to help U.S. companies finance goods for sales overseas, which they call anachronistic, a slush fund, corporate welfare and “cronyism.”

The Monday gathering in the Rayburn House Office Building also kicked off what is expected to be a coordinated campaign to push lawmakers — especially Republicans who have the majority in the House — to reject the Ex-Im Bank’s reauthorization. The Obama administration is backing a five-year extension for the bank, along with a lift to its lending cap to $160 billion through September 2019.

Outside groups are poised to issue key votes, buy air time against noncommittal members and inundate town halls during the decisive August recess ahead of the midterm elections in November. Last week, 30 conservative organizations signed onto a letter articulating their opposition.

“All too often the Republican Party is … tagged as being the party of corporate welfare and big business. This is an opportunity to flip that on its head,” Heritage Action Communications Director Dan Holler said at the event on Monday. “Think about an election cycle where Republicans can … credibly claim that they are in Washington fighting against corporate welfare. That’s a game changer for a lot of voters.

“It’s great policy,” Holler continued, “and the politics will follow.” Full story

February 28, 2014

GOP’s Obamacare Rewrite Remains Uncertain

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McCarthy and McMorris Rodgers hosted a discussion with members on how to sell a health care bill to the conference. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican leaders are proceeding cautiously on a rewrite of Democrats’ health care law amid skepticism that any plan can pass muster in a conference with widely differing ideas about how to move forward.

Several members said this week that they realize the public relations problems Republicans have in repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act five years after it was passed. So leaders are building the bill out from the message, in order to convince their members the endeavor is worthwhile and to show the electorate that their ideas merit control of both chambers of Congress.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” said GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington. “We want to have the policy solutions as well as the communications strategy so that America knows that Republicans are committed to quality affordable health care.”

McMorris Rodgers and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California hosted a group of roughly 30 members in the whip’s office on Wednesday, where they discussed, how to sell a bill to the conference.

Full story

January 15, 2014

5 Interesting Tidbits From Conversations With Conservatives (Updated) (Video)

A monthly meeting with the press and conservatives lawmakers has become a must-attend event — and not just for the free Chick-fil-A.

The Conversations with Conservatives event, hosted by the Heritage Foundation, brings a group of the most far-right legislators on Capitol Hill together to discuss a wide range of topics. And while lawmakers were, unexpectedly, a bit more reserved on topics like the omnibus this month, they had plenty to say on other issues.

Here are five interesting tidbits from the discussion: Full story

August 30, 2013

Town Hall Roundup, Week 4: Republicans Making News

Well, we’ve almost made it to the end of the five-week August recess, during which House Republicans who chose to engage with their constituents did so at their own peril, risking ire-filled confrontations over Obamacare and whether undocumented immigrants should get legal status.

This week, members fielded questions on other topics in the news and, in many cases, made headlines themselves.

Addressing an audience in his home state of Florida on Wednesday, second-term Republican Rep. Rich Nugent cast aspersions on the leadership capabilities of Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio.

“I try not to ever criticize anyone in public,” Nugent said, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times, “but at the end of the day, I don’t think we’re getting the leadership we need to get from the speaker of the House.”

During a visit with a conservative group in Charleston, S.C., Iowa Republican Steve King caught the attention of the left-wing blogosphere for saying that too few Americans were working hard enough to warrant government hand-outs.

According to RedAlert News, King called America under President Barack Obama a “dependency state” that would only increase as “we borrow money from China to pay people not to work, and we say we’re going to grow our GDP because we have sympathy for people that are in this country illegally.”

Then there were members who made headlines by not making public appearances at all, such as Idaho Republican Mike Simpson and Energy and Commerce  Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan. Full story

May 16, 2013

Reinvigorated Tea Party Bands Together Against IRS

Tea party leaders banded together Thursday morning to sound a rallying cry for the first time since news broke last week that the IRS disproportionately scrutinized conservative nonprofits applying for tax-exempt status.

Convened by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., former presidential candidate and chairwoman of the House Tea Party Caucus, the news conference outside the Capitol included tea party allies in the House and Senate, national leaders and representatives from local groups around the country.

Their rhetoric left little room to wonder how they feel about the recent developments.

Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, called for an audit of the IRS, which she described as “thuggish.” Adam Brandon, the executive vice president of FreedomWorks, said the government was operating more like “a third world junta than a constitutional republic.”

“It’s an abuse of power, potentially by this administration, to advance their own political ends,” Bachmann told a crowd of reporters afterward. “And story after story after story leads one to the conclusion, based upon the presumptive evidence, that the administration was willing to misuse and abuse government power to advance its own re-election chances in the next election. That’s wrong.”

Lawmakers and political organizers pledged one after another that this is an issue that won’t temper a roaring boil anytime soon, and that they would continue to speak out until they had answers.

They were also joined by pro bono attorneys on Thursday, a clear signal that the voices of those targeted by the IRS will only grow louder.

“They lost funding, they lost donors,” said Jordan Sekulow, the executive director for the American Center for Law and Justice. “We have a group out of Tennessee that lost a $3,000 donation because they weren’t approved.

“There are monetary damages here. Events had to be canceled. Attorney fees before they hired us … groups hired local attorneys and were not allowed to even operate once they got approved,” Sekulow said.

Though revelations about IRS misconduct became public May 10, conservative organizations have been voicing concerns beginning around February 2012, at which point 27 of them became clients of Sekulow’s group.

April 2, 2013

Club for Growth and FreedomWorks to Sit Out Immigration Fight

Moving an immigration overhaul through the House will be difficult enough for the Republicans without opposition from Washington’s most influential conservative advocacy groups, so it might be welcome news to GOP leaders that that’s one hurdle they might not have to contend with.

On contentious fiscal matters that have come before the House since the Republicans assumed the majority in 2011, the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and Heritage Action for America have been successful in shaping the opinion of House conservatives and in some instances, blocking undesirable legislation over the objection of GOP leaders. But two of these groups have signaled to CQ Roll Call that they intend to sit out the immigration fight.

Philosophically, it’s not surprising that libertarian, free-market oriented organizations such as the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks confirmed to me late Monday that they have no position on the immigration policies currently being debated in the House and Senate, nor do they intend to be active either supporting or opposing the legislation that is expected to emerge. But given how much influence these groups have had over congressional Republicans in recent months, their inaction could prove significant.

Full story

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