Freedom Caucus chair approves keeping gov’t open without border wall funding

Freedom Caucus chair approves keeping gov’t open without border wall funding
House Freedom CaucusChair Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) has split with Trump on keeping the government open despite there not being any funding for a border wall within a funding bill (Getty Images)

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said Wednesday that he and the rest of his caucus will support short-term legislation to raise the debt ceiling and keep the government from shutting down — even if it excludes funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Politico reported Wednesday that this is a notable move given the fact that Meadows and Trump have been staunch allies.

“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 during an interview on ABC’s “Powerhouse Politics” podcast.

Other Republicans agreed the government doesn’t need to be shut down over the wall as well.

According to NBC, Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said he “always supported the border wall,” but believes a physical wall is unnecessary. Heller said border agents should decide what kind of security measures we should have at the border. Heller added that he’d rather avoid a government shut down.

“I don’t like shutting down the government,” he said. “There will be no excuses and nobody else’s fault but the Republican Party if this government does shut down.”

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) also believes a government shutdown should be avoided.

“I don’t think a government shutdown is necessary, and I don’t think most people want to see a government shutdown, ourselves included,” Ryan said during a televised town hall event.

Hurricane Harvey may also be a reason for many legislators to want the government kept open.

Meadows told ABC that he would support an emergency spending package for victims of Hurricane Harvey so long as it doesn’t become “a vehicle for special spending.”

The Freedom Caucus previously rejected a spending package for New York and New Jersey, which was hit by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Members of the caucus stood against the $50 billion Sandy spending bill due to the inclusion of unrelated spending measures.

“As long as we keep the emergency relief really to support the people in need, whether they be in New York or Texas, I think you’ll find plenty of conservative support, and certainly my support,” Meadows said.

Will Trump get stubborn?

While it’s possible Trump may veto any bill that doesn’t contain funding for his border wall — even if it leads to a government shutdown — recent events regarding Hurricane Harvey may sway Trump into keeping the government open.

During a rally in Phoenix, Arizona, last week, Trump said he’d get funding for the border wall, even “if we have to close down our government.

But Trump may also be willing to push back his fight for border wall funding in the midst of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction of South Texas.

“You’re going to see very rapid action from Congress — certainly from the President,” Trump said on Tuesday during a Texas news conference, according to CNN.

“We’re going to get your funding,” Trump added.

However, Trump said he believes the Harvey funding issue is a separate issue from a broader budget deal, CNN reported, saying the disaster relief fund “has nothing to do with it.”

“I think this is separate,” Trump added.