Freedom Caucus chair drags Cornyn at CPAC Texas for crafting gun bill

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Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, publicly criticized Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) for helping craft a gun law while Perry was in Cornyn’s state at CPAC Texas on Friday, drawing boos from the audience.

In a speech on House Freedom Caucus successes, future plans and tactics, Perry said that Republicans in Washington have “got to know which team you’re on.”

“The red flag law that came out of the Senate and came to the House of Representatives, Sen. Cornyn not only — look, we understand that sometimes you got a bad vote. You know, you’ve got a bad situation, you’ve got to vote on something. But don’t help them write the bill and don’t co-sponsor the bill,” Perry said. “Sen. Cornyn does that and a bunch of Republican senators follow up on this thing. It’s [a] red flag law that takes away your right to due process.”

Boos could be heard on a CPAC livestream at the mention of Cornyn’s name.

Cornyn was a top Republican negotiator in crafting a bipartisan gun safety bill this year after a massacre in Uvalde, Texas, when a gunman killed 19 elementary school students and two teachers.

The legislation, which President Biden signed into law earlier this year, included provisions to incentivize states to pass “red flag” laws that prevent those deemed a danger to themselves or others from keeping or obtaining firearms.

A number of Republicans in the House argued that such laws infringe on due process rights without allowing gun owners an opportunity to defend themselves. However, it did not create a federal red flag law.

Cornyn similarly faced boos at a Texas Republican Party convention in June when talking about the gun bill. He is not speaking at the Texas CPAC event.

Though 14 Senate Republicans voted to advance the legislation, Perry said that the House Freedom Caucus pushed House GOP leaders to formally whip votes against the bill when leaders were originally only recommending a vote against it.

“They finally came around,” Perry said. “It’s a small victory, but it’s a victory, and we can win some of these things.”

Perry also called on Republicans to oppose upcoming appropriations bills, saying that Republicans need to find a “leverage point.”

He outlined some of the Freedom Caucus’s demands for rules changes in the House and in the House Republican Conference for next year. The group wants a formal “majority of the majority” to ensure that legislation passed in a GOP-controlled House is also supported by a majority of House Republicans and to restore the Holman rule, which allows members to make spending cuts targeted at specific federal programs or employees.

“It allows us to look at bureaucrats that work in the administration that we can’t fire, take their salary down to $1,” Perry said of the Holman rule. “Now, I’m thinking [White House chief medical adviser] Anthony Fauci, right? I’m thinking about [Attorney General] Merrick Garland. I’m thinking about the Homeland Security secretary. They can continue to work, we can’t fire them, but they shouldn’t make 1 dollar.”

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