Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows: Immigration Debate ‘Is the Defining Moment’ for Speaker Ryan

Collage of Paul Ryan and Mark Meadows staring
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 House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) declared at a press conference on Wednesday that the current immigration debate “is the defining moment” for Speaker Paul Ryan, implying that there will be “consequences” should he fail the American people.

The House GOP leadership revealed on Tuesday that they have started whipping on the immigration bill sponsored by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

The Goodlatte-Labrador bill would end chain migration, the diversity visa lottery, end catch-and-release, build a wall on the southern U.S. border, as well as implement the E-Verify system to require that American companies only hire legal workers.

“I think when they whip it [the Goodlatte bill] will have more votes than the tax bill, more than votes than the budget,” Meadows argued.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) claimed that “it will have more votes than the health care bill that they rolled out last year,” referring to the original American Health Care Act (AHCA). Conservatives slammed the AHCA for not repealing much of the Affordable Care Act, referring to the bill as “RyanCare,” or “Obamacare-Lite.”

Deidre Walsh of CNN asked Reps. Meadows and Jordan, “Mr. Jordan you said that the leadership needs to do the right thing on immigration, you’ve been critical of the Speaker for the budget deal. Mr. Meadows, you’ve talked about needing new leadership is the immigration debate the sort of test for whether he can hang on to his job.”

Jim Jordan responded, “I think the test for all of us is we’re going to do what we the American people we were going to do and as I’ve said before my concern is that just a few years ago Speaker Ryan was known as the leader in our country in our party who was most focused on fiscal responsibility and you saw what happened last week.”

“We know that Speaker Ryan doesn’t share the same feelings that the folks on this dais do as evidenced by where he was on the Gang of Eight bill,” Jordan added.

Mark Meadows charged:

It is the defining moment for this Speaker. If he gets it wrong, it will have consequences for him but it will also have consequences for the Republican party. We cannot afford to miss the opportunity and do it right because we promised the American people we would do it right.

The House Freedom Caucus chairman declared, “This president was elected on largely an immigration platform that defined him differently than every other candidate and it is the defining moment more than the budget, or anything else that we passed.”

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