Freedom Caucus chair: GOP leaders don't have votes to avoid shutdown

Freedom Caucus chair: GOP leaders don't have votes to avoid shutdown

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsBen Shapiro: No prominent GOP figure ever questioned Obama's legitimacy Trump finds consistent foil in 'Squad' Gun store billboard going after the 'Squad' being removed following backlash MORE (R-N.C.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said late Tuesday night that House GOP leadership did not have the votes to pass a government funding bill.

“There is currently not enough support for the latest leadership initiative,” Meadows told The Hill. “We continue to work with them to find a way to reach consensus on a path forward.”

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Members of the Freedom Caucus met Tuesday night after GOP leaders pitched a new strategy to pass a stopgap spending bill, which would fund the government through Feb. 16 and be paired with a six-year extension of funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The plan would also delay ObamaCare's medical device tax and "Cadillac" tax on expensive insurance plans for two years, and the health insurance tax for one year starting in 2019.

Republican leadership sounded optimistic on Tuesday that they would have enough support to pass the continuing resolution (CR) without the help of Democrats in the House.

But the Freedom Caucus, a band of roughly 30 conservative hard-liners, have remained divided over the proposed spending strategy.

The group did not take a formal position on the CR, which would require consensus from 80 percent of the caucus.

But Meadows emerged from Tuesday night’s Freedom Caucus meeting saying they likely had enough votes to defeat the CR. The group represents a key voting bloc in the House.

Some members of the far-right group want promises from leadership to put a conservative immigration bill authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) on the House floor.

Other Freedom Caucus members want Congress to fund the Pentagon at higher levels for the rest of the 2018 fiscal year and pass a short-term CR for the rest of the government — a sentiment shared by some defense hawks.

Updated: 11:40 p.m. EST.