House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) announced Monday night that he has filed suit against House Democratic leaders in federal court, demanding they not hold any more hearings or committee votes in the House or committee chairs without providing the panel with a counter-demand.
His lawsuit comes after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused the Freedom Caucus Monday of using threats of subpoenas as an “attack” to discredit her for not supporting the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that she introduced before Congress passed the final package that President Trump signed into law late Friday.
“What we have seen is the Freedom Caucus ‘use process’ to give the appearance of intimidation. Frankly, we are exploring all possible legal avenues to protect the institutions we care about and ensure the traditions of transparency,” Meadows said.
“We have provided Chairman Brady and ranking member Pelosi with dozens of subpoenas and consideration of bills, but to date have not received any response.”
The Freedom Caucus was initially given a counter-demand that the same panel Democrats are now using to thwart legislation must also provide a counter-demand to stop Congress from voting to force action on policy matters that the Freedom Caucus has already voted on.
The bill that lawmakers ultimately approved would create a 10-week federal spending package with a nearly $250 billion package of tax cuts but fails to address hundreds of billions of dollars in outstanding spending or debt over the next decade.
The Dec. 7 omnibus bill to fund the government is now set to clear in the House on Wednesday and then it will head to the Senate where it is expected to be approved along party lines.
In his suit, Meadows is asking that committee chairs and House leaders not hold any committee votes on either funding bills or on legislation that will do nothing but spend money.
“Our Founders enshrined congressional supervision of spending in the Constitution to ensure the proper budgeting process is followed. Even as we debate President Trump’s tax cuts, they must not be held hostage for votes on spending without appropriations or with transparent committees and our oversight. Members of Congress of both parties have an obligation to follow the rules,” Meadows said.
The Freedom Caucus has voted on two bills recently that Democrats have said should be paid for with cuts to programs for military families and veterans.
After those votes on Friday, House Democratic leaders said the Freedom Caucus was trying to “suppress” the legislation.
“I think it’s a manipulation of the process,” Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said after the votes. “I think it is a distraction to things that are very important, and that is, in effect, a hidden hand to undermine the original intent of the legislation.”
Democrats have said they’re prepared to oppose the tax package on that basis alone.
President Trump called Pelosi on Sunday night and asked her to open debate on the tax package, according to the White House.
Pelosi told reporters this morning she was open to trying to compromise on the two parts of the tax bill that Democrats dislike.
“This is a common room: If there are areas of common ground, we want to reach across the table,” Pelosi said.
As part of the lawsuit, Meadows is asking that leaders for the Freedom Caucus be allowed to vote on both funding measures or legislation that will do nothing without also demanding a counter-demand, something the Freedom Caucus has already demanded.