The House Freedom Caucus will lead a special order on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday evening, where its members will push for funding for President Donald Trump’s planned border wall.
The push from the Freedom Caucus, where members will give impassioned speeches and lay out a strategy they see as the last opportunity for the wall in Trump’s first term of his presidency, comes as Trump himself and the White House have backed down from a shutdown fight and Senate GOP leaders are planning to punt funding of the government into early 2019 with a stopgap spending bill.
The Freedom Caucus, sources with knowledge of the matter say, views this fight this week as the last opportunity in the Trump administration’s first term to get wall funding for President Trump’s planned border wall. Next year, the Democrats take over the House majority on January 3, and likely incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to block any attempts to build the wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. As such, if they are right by their logic, if Congress punts to February–as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pitching with a continuing resolution in a strategy the White House seems to be backing–there will be no border wall before Trump faces voters again in November 2020.
House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows bashed the Senate’s proposal as a Christmas and Valentine’s Day gift to the Democrats. Meadows is a North Carolina Republican and close ally of President Trump who was in consideration to replace now former Chief of Staff John Kelly at the White House before the president selected Mick Mulvaney as his acting chief of staff:
Punting to Feb. 8 on a CR not only gives Democrats a Christmas present, it offers them a Valentine’s Day gift. Democrats will win, the wall will not be built, and Congress will once again have punted when we should’ve been taking a stand. The time to fight is now. Zero excuse.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) December 19, 2018
Sources with knowledge of the matter tell Breitbart News that the Freedom Caucus strategy is to amend any spending bill brought up in the House to fund Trump’s border wall and close various asylum loopholes that continue to propagate the crises along the border.
Members of the Freedom Caucus are also lending their voices to the battle via op-eds, including one by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) in Breitbart News, social media posts like Meadows’ above, and on the series of floor speeches in the House on Wednesday night.
It remains to be seen what will happen in the end, but government funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and about a quarter of the federal government runs out on Friday. An inability to get a deal in the end could derail the fight, but Democrats are likely to go for the short-term continuing resolution, which funds the government at current levels–and does not include border wall money or asylum reforms–in order to kick the fight to when they control at least one chamber of Congress. If Democrats in the House side with establishment Republicans, they could cobble together enough votes to bypass Freedom Caucus opposition to any clean funding measure–but Freedom Caucus members view this as the last chance, so they intend to fight for it anyway.
The White House, meanwhile, has suggested it has found other “pots of money” in different funds throughout the government that could be reprogrammed to build the wall–but it has not been specific about what those might be. Failure to build the wall along the border, Trump’s core campaign promise in 2016, could be devastating to his re-election bid. It remains to be seen exactly what political impact this could have on the president as he faces voters for the first time since taking the White House.