In the new Congress, Meadows will ask his Freedom Caucus colleagues to publicly support around 20 bills at any given time. And, he said, he’d like half of those bills to come from moderate Republican members or Democrats.
Lawmakers across the aisle will be willing to listen and possibly cooperate with Meadows in certain areas, said U.S. Rep. David Price, a Democrat from Chapel Hill, N.C. He noted criminal justice restructuring, particularly, as a place where conservatives and liberals may find common ground.
“Mark is a cordial fellow,” Price said. “I like him personally.”
The Freedom Caucus, though, hasn’t made any allies among Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, Price said.
“It’s hostility to government and a hostility to spending in general,” he said. “You cannot do appropriations under those kind of limitations.”
Price is a senior member of the Appropriations panel, which controls spending legislation. Freedom Caucus pressure, Price said, has resulted in “budget patches” and short-term solutions rather than thoughtful fiscal legislation, which often requires bipartisan compromise.
Meadows said the incoming Trump administration would find a receptive audience with the Freedom Caucus.
On President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Meadows said there was a consensus that security needed to be better.
“The real question is how do you fund that?” he asked.
The Freedom Caucus, Meadows said, might be willing to take a more moderate fiscal stance on border security because, while expensive, it would help curb indirect strains on the federal budget associated with illegal immigration.
Other areas Trump has said he might pursue could be nonstarters for the Freedom Caucus.
“We’re not looking at any type of (Muslim) registry,” Meadows said. “A registry is not, constitutionally, a founding principle.”
Already, Meadows has a welcome package for Trump.
His staff waded through thousands of federal government rules and regulations — almost all of them adopted by President Barack Obama over his two terms — and identified nearly 300 that Meadows wants Trump to undo or void in his first 100 days in the White House.
Meadows said the 34-page document showed a “disturbing trend of the federal government unnecessarily inserting themselves more and more into the lives of hardworking Americans.”