Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., is organizing a group of pragmatic conservatives, hoping to create a counterweight to the Tea Party-affiliated lawmakers that have thwarted House GOP leadership strategy leading up to, and during, the government shutdown.
Nunes corralled five Republican members, whom he declined to name, but told the Washington Examiner that he expects membership to grow to a dozen. Frustrated that a hardline minority of House Republicans stymied the strategies and legislation supported by a majority of the caucus, Nunes said the group intends to withhold their votes from any bill that does not garner the support of at least 208 of the 232 Republicans in the House.
Once 208 House Republicans get behind a particular legislative package, the Nunes group would deliver the final 10 votes needed to pass it. Nunes said the group's chief priority is to prevent a minority of the caucus from blocking the will of the GOP majority. The Californian said his group will disband once the government shutdown ends and the battle over the debt ceiling concludes.
“We’ve got to get out of this mess and we’ve got to hold our conference accountable, especially those who created this mess in the first place,” Nunes said. “We’re just turning it around and showing that this can be done by anybody.”
Nunes has been an outspoken critic of the strategy to defund Obamacare through legislation needed to fund the government. That plan has been driven by a small but influential band of congressional conservatives. Nunes argued that the strategy was fatally flawed since Obama will never repeal his prized legislative achievement and the Democratic Senate has already rebuffed multiple House GOP proposals to slow down the implementation of the law.