House Freedom Caucus reportedly boots out Greene as GOP fractures continue

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It was a couple of weeks ago when the public first started hearing reports about fissures within the House Freedom Caucus. By accounts, some in the right-wing contingent were displeased about members who were a little too cozy with the GOP leadership, instead of their Freedom Caucus brethren. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, despite her over-the-top radicalism, was among those most likely to be “purged.”

It seemed difficult to believe — one of Congress’ most extreme members is too doctrinaire for the far-right faction? — but evidently, the Freedom Caucus wasn’t kidding. Politico reported today:

A member of the House Freedom Caucus on Thursday confirmed that the conservative group has voted to boot Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). … “A vote was taken to remove Marjorie Taylor Greene from the House Freedom Caucus for some of the things she’s done,” said Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.).

The Maryland congressman went on to call the decision to remove Greene “appropriate.”

This reporting has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, though other outlets, including CNN and The Daily Beast, have run similar accounts.

The Freedom Caucus’ apparent decision comes on the heels of a tense and profane clash between the Georgia congresswoman and Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, a fellow caucus member. Harris told Politico that the exchange, in which Greene reportedly called Boebert a “little b—-,” was “the straw that broke the camel’s back” for the far-right faction.

This appears to be the first instance in which the House Freedom Caucus has ever chosen to kick out one of its members.

As striking as this behind-the-scenes drama is, there’s a larger context that’s even more consequential for the political world in general: Divisions among congressional Republicans are growing deeper and more common as the year progresses.

Perhaps this shouldn’t be too surprising. After a midterm election cycle in which the GOP fell far short of the party’s own expectations, even while winning back a majority in the House, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy struggled in historic and embarrassing ways to earn his gavel. Six months later:

The House Freedom Caucus is divided against itself.

House Republicans are divided amongst themselves over impeachment.

House Republicans are divided amongst themselves over appropriations bills.

House Republicans are divided amongst themselves over the resolution of the party’s own debt ceiling crisis.

Senate Republicans are divided against House Republicans over military spending.

House Republicans from competitive districts are divided against House Republicans from ruby-red districts.

A separate Politico report two weeks ago referenced “a new era of factional warfare” within the House GOP conference, adding that many Republicans worry that tensions in their midst could make for a summer of hell, with internal battles raging ahead of September’s government shutdown deadline.”

When a party is in the minority, divisions are easy to overlook: Members of the minority party have limited power and influence, so most of their focus is on defeating partisan opponents. But once the minority becomes the majority, those fissures are unavoidable without strong leadership and a clear vision — both of which the GOP lacks.

Six months after McCarthy suffered through 15 rounds of humiliating balloting, Republicans have very little to show for their work, except for intraparty fractures that keep getting worse.

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer for “The Rachel Maddow Show,” the editor of MaddowBlog and an MSNBC political contributor. He’s also the bestselling author of “The Impostors: How Republicans Quit Governing and Seized American Politics.”

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