The Freedom Caucus: A look at the group that brought down GOP health care plan

The Freedom Caucus took a hard, unified stance against the AHCA,

How did the caucus form?

The caucus was officially founded by conservatives in 2015 at the House Republican retreat in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and is chaired by Rep. Mark Meadows, a third-term Republican from North Carolina.

Who are the members?

So who are they? The caucus does not publicize its full, invite-only membership, although up to 40 conservatives pay dues, according to congressional sources. Most of its known members are tea party-types, elected after Barack Obama took office in 2009, although the caucus is spread across the ideological spectrum. Lawmakers pay $5,000 to become a member and $10,000 to be on the HFC board of directors.

Beyond Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Reps. Justin Amash, R-Mich., Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, and Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., were all founding members and still serve in the House of Representatives.

What is its mandate?

House conservatives say the caucus represents ordinary people who believe Washington has forgotten about them. By banding together to influence legislation as a group, the lawmakers feel better empowered to deliver on conservative campaign promises that sometimes fall out of the legislative agenda of the House elected leadership.

Sources insist members must be willing to vote yes and also willing to vote no, unafraid to buck leadership. They want a bottom-up structure where junior members have the ability to offer amendments and legislate through regular order.