He and Meadows were about as critical of the process as they were the bill, saying it was presented as a “binary choice,” and hidden away without real hearings. Meadows said he was hopeful that the health care bill’s collapse will help GOP leadership “get the process right” and establish a template for future work on the budget, the spending bill and the appropriations process.
Meadows suggested that the caucus might be willing to back a bill if the House leadership accepted a series of changes suggested by the Trump administration allowing states to get waivers for specific insurance mandates. “If those offers that were made over the last couple of days actually appear in the legislation, the majority, if not almost all of the Freedom Caucus, will vote for this bill,” Meadows said.
The two also seemed to doubt that there would be a government shutdown this year, with Meadows saying that conservative Republicans have “six or seven different leverage points” that they could use to push the agenda to the right, rather than two or three.
“We don’t want to shut down,” said Jordan, adding that “we should fight for what we promised the American people.”
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Jordan was also critical of a proposed “border adjustment tax,” saying it would add a “whole new revenue stream” on the U.S. economy without eliminating other streams. He said he was prepared to fight such a tax, which would be imposed on imported goods. The White House has suggested it could be a way to pay for the proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico, but critics have said it could spur a trade war.
“This is, in my opinion, not a good tax,” Jordan said.
The group became a key factor in former House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to retire in 2015, and this year, they’ve been a force that has occasionally stood against current Speaker Paul Ryan. But asked if Ryan would last the session, both Meadows and Jordan seemed to think Ryan would stick around.
“Sure,” said Jordan.