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Tom McClintock quits House Freedom Caucus

Rep. Tom McClintock quit the House Freedom Caucus on Wednesday, saying the Tea Party-dominated group actually undermines conservative goals in Congress.

Tom McClintockMcClintock, R-Elk Grove, tendered his resignation to caucus chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said the caucus’ moves during the near-shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security in Februrary; during the debate over Trade Promotion Authority in May; and last week regarding the nuclear agreement with Iran have actually helped defeat Republican aims.

Now, he wrote, the caucus has formally vowed to shut down the government over funding Planned Parenthood. Though he has strongly opposed public funding of abortions through his entire political career, “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.”

“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,” McClintock wrote. “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.”

Jordan issued a statement calling McClintock “a principled conservative and a valuable member of the House Republican Conference,” and saying the 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.”

Read the full text of McClintock’s letter to Jordan, after the jump…

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

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • JohnW

    Tom McClintock parts company with House Freedom (a/k/a Tea Party) Caucus because they are too extreme. Wow!