“A Narrower Majority for Republicans Could Widen the House Divide”


But some members of the Freedom Caucus seem to have another agenda in mind. They strategized behind closed doors on Wednesday about how to press for their priorities during the lame-duck session, as well as under a potential President Donald J. Trump, aides said.

They also have been weighing rules changes they would like to see — within the party and for the House as a whole — largely intended to empower members with responsibilities typically reserved for leadership, including the selection of committee chairpersons. There is no need to clash with House leaders so long as their proposed changes are “considered fairly,” said Representative Andy Harris, Republican of Maryland and a member of the Freedom Caucus, who did not attend Wednesday’s meeting.

“I think that would involve a fair discussion of the issues,” he said. “I think that would involve a feeling that leadership is not putting its finger on the scale. Take a vote, and let the chips fall where they may.”

Members of the caucus are also concerned about a push from more moderate Republicans to toss out the so-called motion to vacate the chair, a procedural move through which a single member can force a vote to remove the speaker. One member of the Freedom Caucus, Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, tried to use it to oust John A. Boehner from his speakership last year, prompting many — including Mr. Ryan — to criticize it.


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