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U.S. Rep. Randy Weber kicked out of House Freedom Caucus

By Sejal Govindarao, The Texas Tribune

U.S. Rep. Randy Weber kicked out of House Freedom Caucus” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, R-Friendswood, was kicked out of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus last week.

During a one-on-one chat that Caucus Chair Bob Good requested with Weber to address his sparse attendance to weekly meetings members are expected to attend, first reported by Politico, Weber said Good asked him if he had lost interest in the caucus. The Texas Republican said it wasn’t so much a lack of interest as a dislike for the “burn the house down” procedural tactics the rightmost flank has come to be known for. In response, Weber said Good told him he’d need to reapply for admission back into the caucus.

“It was a shock because I’ve disagreed with some of the Freedom Caucus chairs … but I’ve never had them tell me you need to get out of the Freedom Caucus,” Weber told The Texas Tribune.

Good did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon. The House Freedom Caucus declined to comment on membership and internal processes.

Weber said he still hasn’t decided whether he’ll reapply to the caucus.

“I’m going to wait, give it some time and see,” he said.

Weber was a Freedom Caucus member for nearly a decade. He said he has seen the group shift from being party rabble-rousers to playing a major hand in holding up budget fights and forcing an unprecedented Speaker election last year. The rightmost flank holds more weight now given House Republicans’ razor-thin majority, dangling the threat of a motion to vacate or a government shutdown if leadership doesn’t concede to their hardline demands.

Weber said Good had been checking in with caucus members who had missed previous weekly meetings, but Weber is the only known member to have been removed altogether.

Weber said he had “no interaction with Bob Good” beyond the Freedom Caucus’ weekly meetings until he was called into his office last Tuesday.

Weber said he believes Good “had an agenda” and removed him from the caucus unilaterally. He said the clash over that strategy with Good and perhaps some bad blood left from the presidential Republican primary — Weber is a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump and Good initially supported Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — led the caucus chair to single him out.

The last email invite Weber received for a caucus meeting was Dec. 4 — about a week before Good was tapped to succeed Rep. Scott Perry as caucus chair.

Weber added he’s had conversations with Board of the Caucus members who said they were surprised by Good’s move.

“I know that there’s bylaws about missing so many meetings, but there’s a lot of people who’ve missed a lot of meetings and why it would be me singled out I don’t know,” Weber said.

Weber said he missed the meetings to have dinner with his wife, who has started frequenting Washington, D.C., more. But he added his lack of attendance was also spurred by his disillusionment with the caucus’ tactics, like the motion to vacate that ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy with just one vote — a move Weber did not support because he said there was no strategy beyond “throwing a monkey wrench into the gears.”

Several Texas Republicans hold membership in the caucus, including Reps. Chip Roy of Austin, Keith Self of McKinney, Troy Nehls of Richmond and Michael Cloud of Victoria. Roy serves as the Freedom Caucus’ policy chair and declined to comment on Weber’s removal. A 2014 article in The Hill about Weber quoted him saying he didn’t see himself staying in Congress for more than a decade, but the recent dysfunction among Republicans has incentivized him to stay longer.

“If anything, it redoubles my resolve to stay here and try to make this place work because it is broken beyond belief,” he said.

The only other House Republican known to be kicked out of the caucus was Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. She was booted over comments she made about Freedom Caucus colleagues.

Disclosure: Politico has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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