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WNC'S MARK MEADOWS & CHUCK SHUMER MEET ON TAXES

AN UNHOLY ALLIANCE?   

Meadowsshumer2

Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer meet on taxes

HANG TOUGH, MARK!

Eliza Collins, USA TODAY Published 2:09 p.m. ET Oct. 25, 2017 | Updated 2:18 p.m. ET Oct. 25, 2017

In this July 28, 2017, file photo, Rep. Mark Meadows,
In this July 28, 2017, file photo, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., emerges from a House Republican Conference meeting on Capitol Hill. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, AP)

Two of the most ideologically different lawmakers in Congress met Wednesday to talk tax reform: Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate, and Rep. Mark Meadows, a hardline conservative in the House.

Ah, to be a fly on the wall during that meeting.

The huddle was prompted by a scathing speech the New York senator gave on Monday, during which he called the House Freedom Caucus — the conservatives in the far-right caucus Meadows leads — hypocrites for running on fiscal conservatism but being OK with a Senate budget that could allow for a tax bill that could add up to $1.5 trillion to be added to the deficit.

In an interview Monday night, USA TODAY told the North Carolina congressman that Schumer had said "the most scolding deficit hawks have morphed into deficit doves, eschewing principle for political expediency."

When USA TODAY asked for a response, Meadows replied, “I will reach out to Chuck Schumer tomorrow, you have that on good authority. I will reach out to talk to him about tax reform and maybe we can have a discussion where we can have a meeting of the minds.”

On Wednesday morning, Meadows spokesman Ben Williamson confirmed to USA TODAY the two had met to discuss advancing tax reform.

Schumer and most of the caucus he leads are adamantly against GOP efforts to reform the tax code, because they say their plan just benefits the wealthy.

Meadows and other conservatives in the House have decided to vote for the budget bill this week even though they don’t like that it doesn’t have spending cuts. Passing a budget is the first step in tax reform, and many conservatives are holding their noses on the first vote so they can see the bill.

"I'm not happy with it, I'm not thrilled with it in the least," Rep. Scott Perry, a Freedom Caucus member, told USA TODAY in justifying his upcoming support for the budget bill. "But somehow, apparently, you can't do tax reform and save money at the same time ... If we've gotta make a choice and either have none or at least have the one then you've gotta make a choice and at least have the one."

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