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Meadows meets with Senate GOP to discuss end-of-year priorities

Meadows meets with Senate GOP to discuss end-of-year priorities
© Greg Nash

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump holds his last turkey pardon ceremony Overnight Defense: Pentagon set for tighter virus restrictions as top officials tests positive | Military sees 11th COVID-19 death | House Democrats back Senate language on Confederate base names Trump administration revives talk of action on birthright citizenship MORE huddled with Senate Republicans on Wednesday to talk end-of-year strategy and field ideas for the remainder of President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE’s term. 

The meeting with Meadows comes as both the 116th Congress and the administration are nearing a close, though Trump has yet to concede the election to President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation US records 2,300 COVID-19 deaths as pandemic rises with holidays MORE.

"Basically just that we've got about 45 days left of the president’s term. He said he wanted to make sure that [if] we had ideas of things that the White House could and should do during that period of time, that we got them to him," Sen. John CornynJohn CornynCornyn says election outcome 'becoming increasingly clear': report Top GOP senator: Biden should be getting intel briefings GOP senator congratulates Biden, says Trump should accept results MORE (R-Texas) told reporters.

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Cornyn, who said it wasn't a "very substantive message" from the chief of staff, then clarified that Meadows said, "Whether it's 45 days or four years and 45 days.”

GOP senators said Meadows did not directly acknowledge Biden's victory in the election, though he talked about the relationship he’s developed with Senate Republicans as the president’s chief of staff. 

Meadows's message was that “he enjoyed working with us and appreciated the good relationship,” Sen. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight Meadows meets with Senate GOP to discuss end-of-year priorities Senate advances energy regulator nominees despite uncertainty of floor vote MORE (R-N.D.) told reporters. "He just said he appreciated the working relationships. Really, that was a big part of it."

Sen. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Calls mount to start transition as Biden readies Cabinet picks Pressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday MORE (R-N.D.) said Meadows thanked them for the "access" and that the chief of staff's message was “sweet" before quipping, "He didn’t apologize for being the founder of the Freedom Caucus, but it was implied."

When a reporter noted that Meadows's remarks sounded final and asked if he was anticipating a Biden administration in January, Cramer replied that Meadows "never said that." 

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GOP senators say they did not get specifics on issues such as government funding and did not discuss the firing of Christopher Krebs, a top cyber official, but that they instead used the lunch to pitch Meadows on smaller bills. 

“Really we were talking about other issues that weren’t really in the current discussion,” said Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunMeadows meets with Senate GOP to discuss end-of-year priorities McConnell reelected as Senate GOP leader GOP faces fundraising reckoning as Democrats rake in cash MORE (R-Ind.). 

Meadows declined to discuss his message to GOP senators on his way out of the closed-door lunch.