Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., is host of the House Freedom Caucus’ podcast, which made its debut in March. The Daily Signal recently spoke with him about a range of issues the Freedom Caucus hopes to unpack for that audience. Listen to the interview on today’s podcast or read a lightly edited transcript below.
Rachel del Guidice: Congressman, thank you so much for being with us today.
Jody Hice: Thank you so much for having me. I’m deeply grateful for what all you do and I’m glad to be on the program with you.
del Guidice: I want to talk about your new podcast. The House Freedom Caucus has a new podcast that just debuted, I think it’s been about two months on March 6, I think that was the first day. Can you tell us a little bit about the podcast and why you saw the need for it?
Hice: Yes, we’ve actually just finished, I believe, our ninth episode. So we’ve been going a little over two months now.
You know … my background is largely in radio. I was in radio for about 12 years and recently have been elected the chairman of communications for the House Freedom Caucus.
Part of that is to try to take our message to the American people and I think the Freedom Caucus right now has a tremendous brand. Most people are familiar with who the Freedom Caucus is and what we stand for and there’s a group of warriors there.
So this is an attempt to try to reach out to the American people in some regard, re-educate the American people on some of the real issues that we’re facing here in Washington.
The distinctions between a socialist radical Democratic Party at this point versus where we need to be going as constitutional Republican. That’s the type of things we’re fighting for in the Freedom Caucus.
So, it’s kind of an inside baseball look at what’s happening in Washington with a lot of movers and shakers who are actually in the front lines of that battle. It’s an interesting program and we’ve gotten really great feedback with it.
del Guidice: You have had colleagues in the House as well as the Senate on shows that you’ve had recently since you’ve just started.
What has the response been like to the new podcast on the hill as well as some listeners, maybe constituents back home? What are you hearing?
Hice: Yes, we’re hearing people are deeply appreciative. They’re excited about it because we’re able to bring real-life issues that are in the the front pages of the newspapers that are being read and the television programs people watch, things like what’s happening on the border.
We have some of the greatest experts right here in the Freedom Caucus. And I think that’s one thing that really has come to light, people have been made aware that there’s just great intellect, great strategy, great experts that comprise the Freedom Caucus.
I’ve not been anywhere on Capitol Hill that has the in-depth kind of conversations and debate and strategy thought processes involved in meetings like the meetings we have in the Freedom Caucus. So that type of thing has been brought to light in the podcast.
Whatever the topic has been, we’ve really been able to bring some of the greatest experts that we have in our Republican conference to the table and many of them happen to be members of the Freedom Caucus.
We’ve been able to take some pretty important issues that are on the front line of the news and have some incredible discussion about those issues.
del Guidice: You’re so right. I actually was just at the border with Congressman Andy Biggs, he took a delegation of members down. I spent a day with him.
So you’re right that the members in the House Freedom Caucus are watching these issues up close and personal. They care about them and to have that firsthand experience, they actually being at the border and then being able to come back and tell folks it’s really going on. That’s very important to have.
Hice: It is a incredibly important.
Andy has been on the program with us, Chip Roy has been on the program. Those are two incredibly intelligent people on the front line of what’s happening on their borders and also multiple other fronts. Those guys are sharp knives in the drawers and I am honored to be working with them.
del Guidice: Along with your role as the host of the House Freedom Caucus podcasts, you also mentioned you’re the HFC’s communications director.
How do you think this show has helped address misconceptions out there in the media and others about the Freedom Caucus?
You talked about this with Congressman Meadows on the first episode that I really enjoyed listening to and I saw some amazing comments online, too, on the SoundCloud account.
So, how do you think that’s also helped … showing your face or maybe a face just people haven’t seen?
Hice: Yes, I think that’s a great question and we really have seen some tremendous results.
One of the things that I think a lot of people have misconceptions about the Freedom Caucus, what they hear is a lot of negative that comes from the news. And a lot of people just tend to believe that.
So, this podcast has been very helpful and instrumental in bringing real-life people who are on the Freedom Caucus into the lives of our listeners.
And we get into some personal stuff along the way—personal interest in who these individuals are in there daily and family life, but then who they are up here is a bunch of warriors here fighting it out in Washington.
It’s been really helpful, I think, to eradicate some of the misconceptions that some people have and help people really begin understanding that this is a group of people who really have some great ideas and strategies to bring to the table.
del Guidice: The Hill very recently published a piece that’s announcing that Former President Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea are going to be hosting a new podcast starting very soon. It’s going to be called “Why Am I Telling You This?”
As a podcast host, you started before they had any advice or pointers down, what advice or pointers do you have for them?
Hice: I would not be very ready to jump out there giving them advice, but I think, why are they telling us this is a pretty good question. And I’ll leave the answer to that decision into the minds of the imaginations of people who are listening to us right now. But, why? I think that’s a good question for him to ask.
del Guidice: It’s a great question, I agree. As the podcast host, you’ve been having a lot of different shows, talking to members, talking to constituents, and this is a big communications role for you. In your experience, how do you think conservatives in general can communicate better?
Hice: This is part of the reason that we saw the need to have a communications director. One of the great missing elements that we have as a conference and conservatives as a whole is trying to communicate to our people.
We live in a society that is dominated by left-wing national media who rarely want to give a fair shake at the conservative side of things. Their tendency is to spin it all in their direction.
We do have some conservatives primarily on radio and that type of thing, which is incredibly helpful, and some on television as well. But this is kind of our attempt to communicate our message to people in the United States and let them know firsthand without any cuts, without any edits, this is who we are, what we believe, what we’re fighting for, what we’re standing for.
That in itself gives us a degree of control, if you will, from the edits and the spin that we typically get when our message is attempted to go down the avenue of national media. So, this allows us to take our message directly to the American people.
del Guidice: Yes, and speaking of communicating better, reaching more people, and even younger audiences, how do you think in regards to youth conservatives can communicate better and reach the younger generation, the next generation?
Hice: I find that young people are getting more and more engaged. And of course there are some fantastic podcasts and people out there doing some incredible things, reaching out to young people like Ben Shapiro and people like that. You’ve got a Dennis Prager and a host of others that are doing a fantastic job reaching millennials.
I think we’ve got to use a kind of an all-of-the-above strategy in reaching every segment of our society in every age of our society. These podcasts are a part of that as well.
Many young people in particular utilize a podcast format and so this is a great way for us to start, but we have plans to utilize other methods and mediums as well. That be it television, radio, and different avenues, as we continue to go down our overall strategy to communicate with America.
del Guidice: On the show, you’ve already hit on a number of hot topics including the Green New Deal that’s being debated in the House right now as well as the discharge petition that would force a vote on the born-alive bill to protect babies that survived an abortion.
Can you … update us on where the discharge petition stands and what’s going on there?
Hice: Yes. Right now, as you mentioned, we have two discharge petitions. One of them I filed a personally this week dealing with the Green New Deal.
This is a radical socialist piece of legislation that is absolutely horrendous in every way. A $93 trillion price tag but then the socialism that is attached to it is transformational in terms of what it would do to our country.
I believe every citizen in the country needs to know where their representative stands on this issue. There were 92 Democrats that have co-sponsored the Green New Deal, but they don’t want to vote on it.
One of the tools that we have as a minority is a discharge petition to try to force a vote on something that the majority leadership does not want to vote on. So, I filed a discharge on that. We’ve got to get 218 signatures and if we are able to accomplish that, then we will have a vote on the Green New Deal. So, that is in process.
The born-alive bill is similar. In a similar way, Whip Steve Scalise put forth a discharge for born-alive and this is one of those things that should not be partisan at all.
We are talking about a baby that is born alive on the table right before us here. That baby needs to be protected.
The polls show, and certainly my experience shows, whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, whether you’re Democrat or Republican, people understand by the vast majority that when a baby is born alive, it needs to be protected. And yet the majority does not want to have a vote on that.
So, Whip Scalise has put forth a discharge on that as well and it is going extremely well. And with both of these, I think we have a decent chance of accomplishing 218 signatures and forcing a vote on both the green deal and born-alive.
del Guidice: You just hit on the Green New Deal and the born-alive bill on the discharge conditions there. Looking at those two pieces of legislation, or maybe is there something else that you consider either the most important pieces of legislation that you’re really watching or want to pass or maybe the most dangerous that you are telling colleagues, “We really need to like take a second look at this”?
Hice: Yes. We’ve got both. The Democrats have put forward their agenda. The first 10 bills of a H.R. 1, H.R. 2, H.R. 3, all the way through 10 of every Congress identifies the agenda for whichever party is in control. And we just voted today on H.R. 9.
The Democrats have been very clear on what their agenda is by the first 10 bills of this session. And it’s all filled with socialism, it’s filled with government takeover. It is absolutely horrifying. Changing our election laws to ensure that Democrats really will be in control for the rest of our lifetime—that was H.R. 1.
We’re seeing a lot of bills that, fortunately, because we still have the Senate and the White House, those bills are not going to go anywhere at this time. But the fact that the Democrats are playing their hand, showing who they are, what they really believe should be extremely alarming.
I would encourage listeners to check out those first 10 bills to get a better understanding of what the agenda of the Democrats is at this point.
That being said, the House operates off a mob rule. Whoever’s in the majority does whatever they want to do and the minority cannot stop them ultimately.
There’s a lot of bills that we would like to pass. Obviously, we’re trying to work around them through a couple of discharge petitions, which we’ve talked about, but at the end of the day, the majority party is going to rule and do whatever they want to do.
So, our biggest challenge at this point is pulling the reigns, trying to stop, trying to slow down, and in some ways, trying to destroy the agenda that we believe would be extremely destructive for our country.
del Guidice: Congressman Hice, thank you so much for joining us today and taking time. We appreciate it.
Hice: It’s my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.