- House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows said any immigration deal will not be negotiated while the government remains shut down.
- Meadows said he has received assurances from House Speaker Paul Ryan that they are on the same page.
- Senate Republicans and Democrats are still moving forward with potential deals to end the shutdown, with votes expected early into Monday morning.
WASHINGTON – Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, who chairs the powerful conservative House Freedom Caucus, said immigration negotiations are off the table while the government remains shut down, potentially souring any deal underway in the Senate.
Meadows reportedly brokered an assurance from the House Republican leadership to move forward on the border security and immigration bill being pushed by Reps. Bob Goodlatte and Michael McCaul, a conservative piece of legislation many Democrats deemed a nonstarter.
As the government shutdown progressed late into its second day, Meadows told reporters that including immigration guarantees with any new spending bill was already in line with what President Donald Trump has been pushing.
“The fact that the Senate is negotiating in February on an immigration bill is really keeping with where the president has been,” Meadows told reporters. “If you’re gonna do that between now and February 8 versus February 16, I fail to see how six legislative days will make a big difference.”
And Meadows said House Speaker Paul Ryan assured him there is not going to be a new commitment on that front in the House.
“He’s articulated that with me. There is not any commitment that’s going to be inclusive of the House position during this shutdown,” Meadows said. “And the Speaker has been very clear there. I support him in that.”
“We are not going to negotiate on immigration while the government is shut down,” Meadows added. “We’ve been consistent there and we were making extremely good progress. Now even with some that may have an opinion further to my right on immigration, they may have been disappointed on that, but there was the beginning of a consensus that was starting to be drawn on immigration. And yet here we are today that we’ve stopped that because of a government shutdown.”
“If [the government shutdown] goes longer than another 12 to 24 hours, I think it could do lasting damage as it relates to that particular negotiation,” Meadows said of any immigration legislation making its way through the House.