So much has been said recently about the rivalry between the House Freedom Caucus and the so-called “Tuesday Group,” a collection of largely unnamed “moderates” in the House. While the leadership of the Tuesday Group is named, and some members willingly speak to reporters about their agenda, only a few have outed themselves as part of the secretive backroom group. So who exactly belongs to this group of 40 to 50 members, and what are they trying to accomplish in Congress?
The Tuesday Group was formed when the Republican Party finally took back the House in 1992, after the famous “Contract with America,” which was seen as a continuation of Ronald Reagan’s agenda. Although the contract was described as heavily taken from Ronald Reagan’s 1985 State of the Union Address, the Tuesday Group declined to take the view of the conservative message that won the House. Instead, they formed a group to water-down and obstruct the legislation and policies promised in the contract, which is what they continue to do today.
During the recent debate over the Obamacare repeal-in-name-only legislation, several so-called “centrist” Republicans claimed they would not vote for the bill offered by Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., because it would have left some Americans uninsured.
Here’s a list of the Tuesday Group leadership and members who have been publicly identified in media reports.
- Charlie Dent, R-Penn. (House website) co-chair
- Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y. (House website) co-chair
- Tom MacArthur, R-N.J. (House website) co-chair
- Adam Kinzinger, R-IL (The Hill)
- Bill Johnson, R-OH (Roll Call)
- Dan Donovan, R-N.Y. (Roll Call)
- John Katko, R-N.Y. (Roll Call)
- Leonard Lance, R-N.J. (Roll Call)
- Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J. (Roll Call)
- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fl. (Roll Call)
- Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn. (Roll Call)
- Chris Collins, R-N.Y. (Roll Call)
- Pat Tiberi, R-OH (WBALTV)
- Rodney Davis, R-IL (WBALTV)
- Erik Paulsen, R-MN (Vox)
- Mike Coffman, R-CO (Roll Call)
- Carlos Curbelo, R-FL (Roll Call)
- Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-WA (On the Issues)
- David McKinley, R-W.V. (nopanet)
- Fred Upton, R-MI (Detroit News)
- John Faso, R-N.Y. (The Hill)
- Martha McSally, R-AZ (Chicago Tribune)
- Pat Meehan, R-PA (AP)
- Mike Turner, R-OH (Breitbart)
- Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J. (Detroit News)
- Tom Reed, R-N.Y. (Roll Call)
Here is a list of Republican members of Congress that benefitted from The Tuesday Group PAC in 2016 (Open Secrets). Those who received money but couldn’t be found named in media reports on actual membership in the Tuesday Group are in bold; (only current representatives are listed):
- Beutler, Jaime Herrera (R-WA) $10,000
- Bost, Mike (R-IL) $15,000
- Brooks, Susan (R-IN) $10,000
- Burgess, Michael (R-TX) $10,000
- Coffman, Mike (R-CO) $10,000
- Collins, Chris (R-NY) $10,000
- Comstock, Barbara (R-VA) $10,000
- Cook, Paul (R-CA) $10,000
- Costello, Ryan (R-PA) $10,000
- Curbelo, Carlos (R-FL) $10,000
- Davis, Rodney (R-IL) $10,000
- Denham, Jeff (R-CA) $10,000
- Dent, Charlie (R-PA) $10,000
- Diaz-Balart, Mario (R-FL) $10,000
- Donovan, Dan (R-NY) $10,000
- Duffy, Sean P (R-WI) $10,000
- Fortenberry, Jeff (R-NE) $10,000
- Frelinghuysen, Rodney (R-NJ) $10,000
- Jenkins, Lynn (R-KS) $10,000
- Johnson, Bill (R-OH) $10,000
- Joyce, David P (R-OH) $10,000
- Katko, John (R-NY) $10,000
- Kinzinger, Adam (R-IL) $10,000
- Lance, Leonard (R-NJ) $10,000
- LoBiondo, Frank A (R-NJ) $10,000
- MacArthur, Thomas (R-NJ) $15,000
- McKinley, David (R-WV) $10,000
- McSally, Martha (R-AZ) $10,000
- Meehan, Patrick (R-PA) $10,000
- Murphy, Tim (R-PA) $10,000
- Paulsen, Erik (R-MN) $10,000
- Poliquin, Bruce (R-ME) $10,000
- Reed, Tom (R-NY) $10,000
- Reichert, Dave (R-WA) $10,000
- Renacci, Jim (R-OH) $10,000
- Rodgers, Cathy McMorris (R-WA) $10,000
- Rooney, Tom (R-FL) $10,000
- Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana (R-FL) $10,000
- Stefanik, Elise (R-NY) $15,000
- Stivers, Steve (R-OH) $10,000
- Thompson, Glenn (R-PA) $10,000
- Tiberi, Patrick J (R-OH) $10,000
- Turner, Michael R (R-OH) $10,000
- Upton, Fred (R-MI) $10,000
- Valadao, David (R-CA) $10,000
- Walden, Greg (R-OR) $10,000
- Womack, Steve (R-AR) $10,000
In addition to supporting liberal Republicans during election cycles, the Tuesday Group has been playing with its branding. Uncomfortable with the label of “RINO” or “liberal,” they have previously described themselves as “moderates.” But the rise of the grassroots during the Obama administration made them shrug off the term, “moderate,” and members are now calling themselves “centrists.” Clearly, however, they are more liberal than conservative, and are proud of being so.
These Tuesday groupies claim they fight against ideological divides of the Republican Party. However, given that the nation, due to the Tea Party uprising, gave the Republican Party gains to the tune of 32 state legislatures and 33 governorships, how does this group stand by the idea that more Democratic values are what the people want?
Truly, when liberal Republicans make the claim that the country is not conservative — as they have both in the foundation of the Tuesday Group after the massive wins of the ‘94 legislature — and their statements of today, they merely speak of their own belief system. In fact, when challenged by a more conservative candidate, many dug-in liberal Republicans all too often — rather than touting their liberal credentials in order to win — instead find fault in the conservative and pound them for not being conservative enough, all the while never having to answer to their own conservative inadequacies.
The Tuesday group does not want a repeal, and therefore it is the Tuesday Group who stands in the way of the people’s voice.
What it comes down to is that the Tuesday Group is indeed ideological, because they have a belief system that is really not in line with why the Republican Party wins. They consistently describe themselves as fiscally conservative, yet socially liberal. When comparing that to many of their demands on the recent RINOcare bill, things like keeping provisions that amounted to keeping the insolvent nature of Obamacare, their ideology is shown to be inconsistent with their own description. Even Donald Trump won on his touting of conservative ideas, strengthening the border with a wall, cracking down on illegal immigration, destroying ISIS, promising a fiscally conservative track, lowering taxes, and so on. It is no surprise that Ted Cruz, R-Texas, won more electoral votes than all the other presidential candidates, 16 in total during 2016, combined less Donald Trump. It is because the Republican Party wins when they tout conservative ideas.
The Tuesday Group has an ideology that the Republican Party wins when they tout their willingness to cross the aisle and work with the people the American people just resoundingly rejected across the board. If the group was correct in their thinking, and not ideologues, John McCain, R-Ariz., would have won in 2008, Mitt Romney in 2012, and Jeb Bush or John Kasich in 2016, but that is not the case.
People in D.C. want to blame the House Freedom Caucus for everything, but why? For trying to live up to the reasons the Republican Party won? We were promised a repeal of Obamacare. The Tuesday group does not want a repeal, and therefore it is the Tuesday Group who stands in the way of the people’s voice.
Author: Jen Kuznicki
Jen Kuznicki is a contributor to Conservative Review, a blue-collar wife and mom, a political writer, humorist, and conservative activist, a seamstress by trade, and compelled to write. Follow her on Twitter @JenKuznicki.