The shutdown is “a means to an end for something they have long pursued, which is limiting the size and scope and role of government,” former House GOP staffer Kurt Bardella said of the conservative Freedom Caucus. Bardella became a Democrat in 2017.
“These are small-government guys, not wall guys,” one former White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private exchanges, said of Meadows and Jordan.
Conservatives have for decades questioned the size and effectiveness of the federal bureaucracy. The shutdown has in some ways underscored their view that government can function with fewer employees.
“There’s a moment when people say, ‘Did you notice what percentage of this agency was viewed as nonessential?’ ” said anti-tax activist Grover Norquist.