According to Rep. Mark Meadows of the House Freedom Caucus, any talk of using the threat of a government shutdown to force Democrats to pony up the money for a new border wall may have to be put on hold. In an interview with the Powerhouse Politics podcast this week, Meadows indicated that his conservative caucus might be willing to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government open, even if it does not include money for the wall.
“In talking to a number of my members, if there was a vote for a continuing resolution next week that did not include border wall funding, the majority of those members would be supportive of that,” Meadows said.
According to ABC News, even hardline immigration Republicans may be changing their minds about forcing the Democrats into a shutdown, given the need for federal aid to Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
“Next week, in September, we are encouraging our leadership to go ahead and put a bill on the House floor and let us vote for that,” Meadows said. “Most of the conservatives that I talked to are willing to vote for a continuing resolution that just basically would not have wall funding in it — would continue the current stream of money that keeps the government operational while we work through and negotiate on the appropriations bill.”
We don’t see in any of Meadows’ quotes where he’s specifically citing the hurricane as a reason for a continuing resolution without Wall money, however, so we’re not sure where that’s coming from. If that was Meadows’ main emphasis, we could at least understand where he’s coming from. Even President Trump may see things differently, given the impact of Harvey and the need for additional federal spending to help victims of the unprecedented flooding. But it sounds to us like many members of the Freedom Caucus are just fine with a bill that includes no money for the Wall, regardless of special circumstances. And that is exactly what we were afraid of. Because if the Freedom Caucus doesn’t care, who does?
This will, then, ultimately come down to President Trump. With his veto pen, he has the power to singlehandedly shut down the government if he gets a bill on his desk that does not include funding for the wall. And since he campaigned on nothing so vigorously and passionately as the need to build that grand southern border structure, he’s going to have to make a tough decision. If hurricane relief prevents him from making it this time around, fine.
But eventually, Republicans are going to need to give the voters some actual evidence that their vote mattered last November.