Conservative caucus members say they deserve powerful place at the table
ABC News(NEW YORK) — As House Republicans prepare to select their next speaker, two key Freedom Caucus members told ABC News they want their conservative group to have a seat at the leadership table.
“We need to be more involved in the process. I am for somebody from the Freedom Caucus either being Speaker of the House, House Majority Leader, or Majority Whip or else the culture is not going to change,” Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, told ABC News Political Director Rick Klein and Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce.
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., said he thinks Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy is ready to be speaker, but warned, “If you got the same old people doing the same old jobs, you don’t get any new ideas and that’s why the American people turn to the other party for new ideas. We’ve got to have those ideas. We’re much younger and much more in touch with the American people than the Democrats are.”
Blum, however, cautioned that Freedom Caucus members are unwilling to make concessions to gain prominent leadership positions.
“If you say I want to be in House leadership, then you’ve got to get on the team. Get on the team is French for ‘hand in your voting card to leadership,’” he said.
Blum, who co-stars with Buck in a new Facebook video series called “The Swamp,” outlined changes he would like to see Washington embrace.
“We should have term limits. We should have a life-time ban on lobbying. We should cut our pay every year that we don’t balance the budget. We should get rid of this 87-million dollar slush fund for sexual harassment,” he said, referring to the fund used to pay out millions of taxpayer dollars to privately settle workplace claims filed by Hill staffers.
Asked whether they think President Donald Trump is fulfilling his campaign promise to “drain the swamp,” Buck and Blum agreed that progress is being made.
“Scott Pruitt, Betsy DeVos- all those folks are helping to drain the swamp and the fact that they are being attacked means that they’re doing a good job,” said Buck.
Buck and Blum were cautiously optimistic about midterm elections come November. When Bruce asked if Republicans can hold onto the House in the fall, Blum said, “I do, but I think it’s going to be very close. Six, seven months is a lifetime in politics, but let’s see where we are in seven months.”
Blum was more partisan in his response. “It is never good to drain the swamp by electing Democrats.”
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