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Freedom Caucus Demands Immigration Reform Bill for Stop-Gap Government Funding Bill

Mark Meadows
The Associated Press

The House Freedom Caucus asked for a floor vote on the Goodlatte-Labrador immigration reform bill in exchange for temporary funding of the government.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) told The Hill, “As of right now they don’t have the votes,” and then proceeded to a meeting on Capitol Hill with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

“There is strong support for the House to put forth a vote on immigration, and the Goodlatte-Labrador bill has the most support within the caucus,” Rep. Meadows added, referring to the immigration bill sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Freedom Caucus member Raul Labrador (R-ID).

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.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and the rest of Republican leadership continue to whip votes among frustrated defense hawks and conservatives who want concessions from the temporary government spending bill.

House Republican leadership reportedly pitched to rank-and-file members a stop-gap spending that will fund the government through February 16. The measure was offered in exchange for temporarily delaying several Obamacare taxes, while funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years.

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), the chief deputy whip, was reportedly confident on Tuesday about the Republican leadership’s chances of passing the temporary spending bill.

Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), said, “I can’t swear to it, but the tone sounds pretty good.”

House Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (R-NC) revealed that the whip count for the spending bill is “somewhere between 210 and 215.”

The government spending bill would delay Obamacare’s medical device and “Cadillac” tax on expensive employer-provided health insurance plans, with a one year delay of the Health Insurance tax (HIT). The government will shut down if it does not receive funding by Friday, January 19.

House conservatives hope to seize the current window to force a vote on the Goodlatte-Labrador immigration bill.

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), a member of the House Freedom Caucus, told reporters on Wednesday, “First of all, I’d like to get our House bill on immigration enforcement passed. That’s a minimum standard. That’s No. 1.”

Congressman Dave Brat (R-VA) argued, “We don’t wanna get rolled by the Senate on DACA and the budget.”

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), a sponsor of the Goodlatte bill, argued that a commitment from the House Republican leadership would ensure more support for the Continuing Resolution (CR).

McCaul contended, “That certainly would help, in terms of whipping votes on the CR.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, asked whether House leadership would commit to a floor vote on the immigration bill, said, “We’re working on the Goodlatte bill.”

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