Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, chairman of an influential bloc of conservatives in the U.S. House, said there are enough votes to stop any budget bill that does not include funding for President Donald Trump’s promised wall along the southern border.
Congress is expected to begin budget talks later this summer. Without an agreement, the government could shut down on Oct. 1.
The border wall was one of Trump’s signature campaign promises. He promised during the campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall, but his first budget proposal as president included more than $1 billion for construction of the wall.
“Without a doubt there is enough conservative members who will not support any funding mechanism that does not include border wall funding,” Meadows told Breitbart News in a phone interview Monday.
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Meadows, a Republican who represents North Carolina’s 11th District in the far western part of the state, leads the House Freedom Caucus. He also told Breitbart that “my conversations with the president have led me to believe that there is nothing less than a full and total commitment on his part to only sign into law a funding bill that actually allows for us to start construction of a border wall on our southern border.”
Meadows is not the first House member to raise the possibility of shutting down the government if funding for the wall is not included in the budget. Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama — who is running for Senate in a special election to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ seat — promised in a campaign ad to “fight every spending bill that doesn’t fund that wall and if I have to filibuster on the Senate floor, I’ll even read the King James Bible until the wall is funded.”
In Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, called “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” the administration calls for “a new foundation that solidifies our commitment to the border’s security.”
The budget, released in May, includes $1.6 billion for 32 miles of new border wall construction, 28 miles of levee wall along the Rio Grande Valley and 14 miles of new border wall system near San Diego, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed budget.
The administration’s budget includes nearly $300 million to hire and train 500 new Border Patrol Agents and 1,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel and calls for spending $1.5 billion above 2017 levels for expanded detention, transportation and removal of immigrants who are in the country illegally.
“I will build a great, great wall on our Southern border and I will have Mexico pay for that wall,” Trump said in 2015 while announcing his bid for president. As president, Trump has called for congressional funding while saying that Mexico will pay “eventually” and “in some form.”
Several lawmakers, including prominent Republicans, pronounced Trump’s proposed budget “dead on arrival” after it was released, citing a host of concerns with the administration’s funding proposals.