As House Republicans wrestled Wednesday over what to do about their various immigration bills, frustration boiled over when House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) confronted each other furiously on the House floor, per a Thursday Politico report.
The two were reportedly gesticulating wildly at each other as Meadows cried, “I don’t care anymore,” saying “I’m done” to other people present. According to Politico, at the time, Meadows was involved in talks about the conservative and moderate immigration bills, both of which require his support.
Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) reportedly joined the fray, prompting Meadows to exclaim (politely) “I’ll sign the dang discharge petition. I don’t care anymore.”
Curbelo led the moderate Republican effort to, among other things, finally bring a floor vote on DACA.
According to Politico, it is unclear exactly what Meadows’ anger stemmed from, but the general consensus is that Meadows felt jerked around by GOP leadership, who felt jerked around by Meadows and his powerful caucus.
Meadows spoke to reporters after the altercation. “Oh, no. I was passionate. I was not yelling,” he said. “I think at this particular point, the compromise bill is not ready for prime time. There are things that are supposed to be in the compromise bill that are not in the compromise bill that we had all agreed to.” He declined to expand further.
As Politico points out, Meadows and his caucus wield enormous power among House Republicans and could easily kill any immigration bill package that comes to the floor. How the bills fare Thursday will be a direct reflection on the power of President Donald Trump to unite his fractured party.