House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said Saturday that the conservative movement is "absolutely not" dead and that the two-year budget deal that passed Wednesday might have left some tea party voters losing "trust" in Congress — possibly translating to "waves" at the polls in November.
"Is the conservative movement dead? Absolutely not," Meadows, a North Carolina Republican first elected in 2012, told economist Larry Kudlow on his syndicated radio program.
"The real problem is that it takes a number of people who are willing to go home and fight for the priorities we all should be fighting for."
In addition, "that political courage is also at a deficit in Washington." Meadows said.
"We're going to regroup … and fight this second battle.
"Hopefully, win the war — but we, obviously, lost this battle."
Meadows, a fiscal conservative who came in on the heels of the 2010 tea party wave, opposed the two-year budget deal passed by Congress on Wednesday.
He argued that the deal would bust spending limits and remove the military sequester, adding that it provides $300 billion more to the Pentagon and domestic programs over current spending limits.
President Donald Trump is expected to announce his budget proposal Monday, including a $3 billion request as a down payment on a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
"We've just gotten to the point to where even Republicans are starting to act like Democrats," Meadows told Kudlow.
As such, he said, many tea party voters have "lost trust" because federal spending continues to spiral out of control — and that could bring a new wave of elected conservatives to Congress in November.
"They're either going to re-engage — and say, 'I'm going to send more conservative people, more people who are willing to vote my beliefs in Washington' — or they're going to lose trust.
"I'm afraid that this might be where it is: 'I'm going to lose trust in that it doesn't really matter anymore.'
"If that happens in November," Meadows told Kudlow, "what you're going to see is people say: 'Well, I used to think the Republican Party stood for market-driven principles, less government, fiscal constraint — and, yet, it doesn't seem like they're voting that way.'
"When you get there, it shows up — and it creates waves."
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