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 MeadowsMeadows says Trump World looking to 'move forward in a real way' Trump takes two punches from GOP Watchdog urges Justice to probe Trump, Meadows for attempting to 'weaponize' DOJ MORE huddled with Senate Republicans on Wednesday to talk end-of-year strategy and field ideas for the remainder of President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic On The Money: Biden, Pelosi struggle with end of eviction ban | Trump attorney says he will fight release of tax returns Lack of transatlantic cooperation on trade threatens global climate change goals 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 BidenRussia says 24 diplomats asked by U.S. to leave by September Biden discusses Canadian citizens detained in China with Trudeau Biden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic 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 CornynBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal Biden officials pledge to confront cybersecurity challenges head-on 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 HoevenThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal 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 CramerGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet Trump takes two punches from GOP 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 BraunBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet CDC backtracks with new mask guidance GOP senators invite Yellen to brief them on debt ceiling expiration, inflation MORE (R-Ind.). 

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