Amid all the coverage of House Republicans’ unruly efforts to select a speaker who can command broad support from their fractious ranks, one name keeps coming up: theHouse Freedom Caucus. But what, exactly, is the House Freedom Caucus?
Pew Research Center has confirmed the identities of 36 Freedom Caucus members through representatives’ public statements, their comments to the media or their offices’ direct responses. A handful of other House members who reportedly belong to the group could not be confirmed. (The communications director for Rep. Darrell Issa of California, for example, said he could neither confirm nor deny Issa’s membership in the caucus.)
Ideologically speaking, they’re among the most conservative of House Republicans, though not all are on the rightmost end of the spectrum.
Freedom Caucus members also have spent decidedly less time in the House. Of the 36 identified members, 26 (72%) were first elected in 2010 or later, compared with 54% of other House Republicans.
But in many other ways, the Freedom Caucus looks much like the rest of the House GOP. Of the members we were able to identify, there is only one woman (Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming) and one ethnic or racial minority (Raúl Labrador of Idaho, who is Hispanic). They’re a bit younger, with an average age of 54 (as opposed to 56 for the rest of the House Republicans), and somewhat more likely to come from the South (56% versus 45%) or the West (22% versus 16%).