Brian Babin becomes second Texan to quit Freedom Caucus since March

U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, R-Woodville, joins Ted Poe of Humble in publicly ending his ties to the arch conservative group in Congress, the Freedom Caucus.

U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, R-Woodville
U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, R-Woodville  Courtesy, Library of Congress

Editor's note: This story was updated on Friday, April 28.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, R-Woodville, is the second Texas Republican since March to quit an arch conservative group in Congress, the Freedom Caucus.

In recent weeks, Babin, a sophomore from East Texas, surfaced as a vocal critic of the caucus' obstruction to the agenda of House leadership and President Donald Trump. U.S. Rep. Ted Poe of Humble left the caucus in early April with similar complaints. 

“As one of the most conservative members of Congress, I have nothing but the greatest respect for my friends and colleagues in the House Freedom Caucus," Babin said in a statement. "I simply believe I can be a more effective voice in support of our conservative policies outside of the caucus now that we have a President who will sign our conservative legislation."

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The Hill newspaper reported the news earlier on Thursday.

The Freedom Caucus has several dozen members. It has stymied the rest of the GOP conference in the past by denying a party consensus on legislation – usually on the grounds that the leadership's agenda is not conservative enough. Frequently, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and his predecessor, John Boehner, were forced to seek Democratic support for legislation because they could not secure a simple majority vote out of their own caucus. 

The group's years-long fights with leadership have frequently surfaced during budget and health care negotiations. 

Last month, both Babin and Poe ultimately backed the GOP leadership's plan to overhaul former President Obama's 2010 health care law, despite opposition from most other Freedom Caucus members. 

There is no official public roster of the Freedom Caucus, but at least three Texans still call themselves members of the group: U.S. Reps. Joe Barton of Ennis, Louie Gohmert of Tyler and Randy Weber of Friendswood.