- The government will shut down if no funding bill is passed by the end of Friday.
- Conservative House members in the Freedom Caucus are currently against the Republican leadership’s plan to avoid the shutdown, putting the plan in jeopardy.
- President Donald Trump called into a Freedom Caucus meeting in an attempt to win over the members.
Republicans have have just avoided a serious stumbling block in their bid to prevent a government shutdown.
After a furious bit of last minute negotiations, Republican leaders appear to have struck a deal with conservative hold-outs in the House Freedom Caucus to win the recalcitrant members’ support for a government funding package.
With government shutdown deadline looming at the end of Friday, Rep. Mark Meadows said that House Speaker Paul Ryan promised to introduce a measures to bolster the military’s “readiness,” satisfying a key demand from the conservative members.
“He put forth a few things for our caucus to consider that would actually be beneficial to the military and out focus on the military needs going forward,” Meadows said.
Following the caucus meeting, Meadows told HuffPost’s Matt Fuller that the agreement includes a vote on a bill to increase defence spending above a mandated cap. Also the leadership committed to work on a conservative-leaning immigration reform bill introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte.
TheFreedom Caucus’ main concern was that the short-term bill – called a continuing resolution (CR) – would not give the military adequate resources to perform at a high level and extend the uncertainty over funding for defence.
The bill as it’s currently constructed would extend the deadline for a shutdown to February 16.
After meeting with Ryan, Meadows said that there is “hopefully a path to 218 votes in the House,” referencing the necessary support a bill needs to go through the chamber. The North Carolina Republican also said he would advise the Freedom Caucus to vote for the deal.
“Obviously, I would be recommending to our caucus based on what I just heard that we support the president in this particular initiative,” Meadows told reporters.
Soon after his remarks, the Freedom Caucus tweeted support for the funding bill.
“The majority of the @freedomcaucus has taken a vote to support the CR effort this evening,” the Freedom Caucus said in a tweet.
The turnaround also comes after President Donald Trump called into the Freedom Caucus meeting on Thursday in an attempt to negotiate a deal with the group.
Meadows told Business Insider following the call from Trump that there was “no distance” between the Freedom Caucus and Trump on policy but there were still issues to resolve.
“Obviously I’ve talked to the president, but at this particular point we’ve got a whole lot that we’ve got to get done and nothing has changed,” Meadows said following the meeting.
Trump also hopped onto Twitter to cheerlead for passage of the bill after speaking with Meadows.
“House of Representatives needs to pass Government Funding Bill tonight,” Trump tweeted. “So important for our country – our Military needs it!”
The Freedom Caucus’ demands appear to have been met during a meeting shortly after with Ryan. According to Meadows, Ryan is also going to hav an announcement regarding the military and the funding bill shortly.
A vote on the bill is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET in the House.
Even if the bill is passed, the deal also faces strong resistance in the Senate, where three GOP members have already said they will vote against the House bill.
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