Freedom Caucus votes to remove Ken Buck

The House Freedom Caucus voted to remove Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) from the group Tuesday night, three members of the conservative group told The Hill, a dismissal that comes days before he is set to retire from Congress.

One of the Freedom Caucus members, who requested anonymity to discuss the internal proceedings, said the group decided to oust Buck because he has not been a member in “good standing” and has not regularly attended meetings of the body “in months.”

The source also said Buck — who has frequently broken from his party on various issues — was removed because “he hasn’t been with conservatives on several major issues” and “is leaving the conference hanging with a historically narrow margin.”

Buck was informed of the group’s decision Tuesday night, the source added.

Buck’s office declined to comment. A Freedom Caucus spokesperson told The Hill that the group “does not comment on membership or internal processes.” The Hill was first to report on Buck’s removal.

The conservative group voted to exile Buck three days before he is scheduled to leave Congress.

Buck announced last year that he would retire from the House at the conclusion of this year but he expedited that timeline last week, revealing that he would leave Capitol Hill at the end of this week.

The decision further chips away at the GOP majority in the House. Republicans will still only be able to afford to lose two of their members on any party-line votes assuming all lawmakers are present, which is how the breakdown currently stands. But it decreases the cushion GOP lawmakers will have when considering partisan measures.

Buck’s impending departure will put a bookend on his nine-plus year tenure in Congress which, over the past year, has become marked by his criticism of GOP election denialism and his willingness to break from the Republican Party on key votes.

Buck, for example, was one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from the top job, joining some other members of the Freedom Caucus.

He was also one of the three GOP lawmakers who opposed impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, which torpedoed the first attempt to oust the embattled cabinet official and dealt an embarrassing blow to the Republican conference.

Buck did not mince words when discussing his congressional tenure after announcing his expedited retirement, telling reporters, “this place just keeps going downhill and I don’t need to spend my time here.” He told CNN in an interview that this past year in Congress has been “the worst year” of his near-decade run on Capitol Hill.

“It is the worst year of the nine years and three months that I’ve been in Congress. And having talked to former members, it’s the worst year in 40, 50 years to be in Congress. But I’m leaving because I think there’s a job to do out there that I want to go do,” he added.

Buck is not the first member to be ousted from the Freedom Caucus this Congress. Last summer, the group voted to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) from the group after she grew close with GOP leadership.

Updated at 7:29 p.m.

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