Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, detailed on Breitbart News Sunday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel how he and other conservatives plan to take on an ambitious agenda during the 12 legislative days Congress is in session in September.
“We’re going to have to juggle [the debt ceiling, Obamacare repeal, spending bill, and tax reform] and if we don’t I can tell that really the next 12 days, and that’s all we have — 12 legislative days in September — will decide whether we’re going to remain in power as a Republican majority or not,” Meadows said in the interview with Breitbart Washington Political Editor Matthew Boyle on the program. “Are we serious about getting the president’s agenda done? The next 12 days will do that. You mentioned a couple of those items — the debt ceiling; obviously repeal and replace Obamacare.”
Regarding Obamacare repeal and replace, Meadows said it is critical that Congress get moving on the plan as soon as possible.
“The vehicle that we have for that actually will soon expire,” Meadows said. “So if we don’t use that reconciliation instruction in the next 30 to 45 days we will have lost the opportunity to get it done with just 51 votes in the Senate. As I look at it is critical that we are ‘all hands on deck.’ But more importantly that we have a plan. I think the frustration that I have is that I see the critical deadlines that are coming up and yet I see a lot of talk but no action. I just talked to a friend. A guy by the name of Clay Tally, who really represents the typical Trump voter. He was saying, ‘You know what, I’m tired of the talk, let’s get some things done and why not support the president and make sure that we get it done.’”
Meadows said that House Speaker Paul Ryan’s efforts to stick with the bill that passed the House dealing with healthcare is dead and that Congress needs to rally around a new plan. He spoke highly of efforts by former Sen. Rick Santorum—who is working with Sen. Lindsey Grahan (R-SC) and the nation’s GOP governors on a new plan—to do just that.
“We can’t stick with the current bill — that’s already been rejected by the Senate so that may make for a good talking point, but it doesn’t make for good policy,” Meadows said. “Rick Santorum has been working really hard with Lindsay Graham and a number of other senators. I’ve spoken to Sen. Graham and Sen. Santorum over the August recess and it’s got real merit — it’s actually about returning the power to the states — making sure we give governors real flexibility over the dollars that we send. The decisions that get made closet to the actual patient are the decisions that are best. Somehow we think the decisions that are made in Washington, D.C. somehow are much better. I can tell you that the further they are away from the actual place that they get consumed the worse it gets. I like the work that Santorum is putting forth and hopefully if we can give it some flexibility and add some of those — what I say — consumer choice that Mike Lee and Ted Cruz have supported — I think it has real merit and could actually take off when we get back in September.”
On tax reform, Meadows said, work must start in September on an aggressive pace.
“We’ve got to start making decisions. You mentioned it can go beyond September but, you’re right, it has to start in September,” Meadows said. “You have 48 legislative days left in this year — 48. Forty eight days — yet we’re past the 200 day mark in the Trump administration and we somehow think the procrastination is actually going to produce something better than it has in the past. We need to make some decisions — let’s start talking about, what is the corporate rate? What are we going to reduce rates for the hardworking taxpayer — your listeners. What are we going to do for them. It’s time that we start going from principles to actual specifics and if we do not do that by the third week of September we’re going to be behind the eight ball and I’m afraid the jury will not come back with a very good verdict.”
Congress also has to raise the debt ceiling in September to keep the United States from defaulting on its debt. The House Freedom Caucus, which Meadows chairs, is pushing for a solution as soon as possible—and Meadows noted that congressional leadership skipped town for August recess without directly addressing the problem as his group of members pushed to do.
“Well, the Freedom Caucus called, as you know, called for us to actually deal with this back in July before we left in August,” Meadows said. “In fact, we said we shouldn’t leave for August unless we have a debt ceiling worked out, repeal and replace worked out and a funding bill that actually would fund the government for the rest of the year. None of those things were done and yet we still took our time to go back to the district — and I’m not saying that district work is not important but there’s only one place that you can do legislative work and that’s in Washington, D.C. So as we look at that, what we’ve got to do is put forth a conservative debt ceiling increase. Some of the things the Freedom Caucus has looked at is tying it — tying our debt to GDP growth — it can’t ever go beyond the current spending caps — it’s part of what they called back in 2012 cut, cap and balance … this was the cap portion that we would put that forth. The other you mentioned is a debt ceiling increase — to go ahead an increase it but codify the president’s executive order. You know he did an executive order which said that for every new regulation you’ve got to get rid of two other existing regulations. Let’s codify that in law. And I think if you did one or both of those things you could find a conservative win — you could pass a debt ceiling with Republican only votes. Outside of that it looks like we’re going to put Chuck Schumer in control of the negotiations and that is not a good thing for the president.”
Meadows also addressed the upcoming spending bill battle, in which he said it is imperative there be funding for President Donald Trump’s planned wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
“It always helps to do what you said you were going to do and the president talked about the wall,” Meadows said. “He campaigned on that. Many of us supported that particular position — myself included. And so we’ve got that in the spending bill that’s coming out of the House. So the problem is going to be with the Senate and if we end up with a CR [continuing resolution] I don’t see a way that there is going to be money for a wall and that’s going to be problematic. So the Democrats are going to have to come to grips with fact that the president is serious with this and start negotiating in good faith. Right now they’re saying that’s there’s no amount of money that they would put for one of their special projects in order to fund the wall. I find that to be really not negotiating in good faith — but it’s a position that very, very difficult to hold. Everybody knows that from a national security standpoint we need to secure our southern border. And I’m in support of the president in that.”
Meadows also said the consequences are dire for any Republicans who fail to uphold their promises to deal these with issues for the American people.
“We’ve got to make sure the next 12 days that we get things done,” Meadows said. “If there’s a number higher than 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 it would be that kind of number. It’s that serious — it’s that critical.”
And Meadows cited a piece from Brent Bozell on Breitbart News over the weekend that delved into this.
“You know you had a great article with Brent Bozell that was talking about, literally, the promises that have been made on behalf of the GOP that said if you give us the Senate we’ll get things done,” Meadows said. “Well, that wasn’t good enough. They said if you give us the House, the Senate and the Oval Office we’ll get things done. We are running out — in fact we have run out of time —we’ve got to get things done and if we don’t the consequences will not only be severe but they will be across the board for all Republicans to pay when it comes up for reelection — so that does not exempt our leadership and the leadership in the House and the senate as well as those on committees of jurisdiction have to be serious about producing results.”