Politics & Policy

Trump Signs Spending Bill after Threatening Veto

President Trump speaks with reporters at the White House in Washington, D.C., March 13, 2018. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

President Donald Trump signed a $1.3 trillion budget Friday for “national security” reasons just hours after threatening to veto the bill due to concerns about inadequate border-wall funding and a lack of permanent protections for so-called DREAMers.

Upon taking the podium, the president referred to the spending bill as a “ridiculous situation” and complained about the haste with which Congress moved to pass the legislation. He then quickly changed direction, emphasizing the importance of the increased military spending included in the bill, which he admitted Republicans secured by making “wasteful” concessions in other areas.

The bill, which funds the government through Sept. 30, is expected to add roughly $1 trillion to the federal deficit while providing the largest top-line military budget in history. Notably absent from the omnibus is any provision of permanent protections for so-called DREAMers — a concession Democrats hoped to secure in exchange for increased border-security funding.

Trump threatened to veto the bill Friday morning, citing concerns that the legislation does not include adequate funding for his long-promised border wall and fails to address the fate of the more than 800,000 illegal immigrants at risk of deportation due to his rollback of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Trump vowed to seek a legislative solution for the group when he eliminated the Obama-era program.

Trump’s threat contradicted the word of White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, who said Thursday Trump would definitely sign the legislation.

While the bill clearly failed to meet Trump’s expectations for border-security funding, it does provide $1.6 billion for 30 miles of fencing on the southern border as well as increased surveillance technology.

Despite backlash from the progressive wing of the party over the lack of protections for DREAMers, Democratic leadership celebrated the bill as a win for the “middle class” because of the allocation of funds for domestic programs to combat the opioid crisis and provide broadband coverage to rural areas.

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