25 March, 2018
President Trump took Washington on another wild ride Friday - first threatening to trigger a government shutdown with a spending bill veto, then just as abruptly changing his mind and signing a $1.3 trillion budget plan after all.
White House and Capitol Hill aides had been left scrambling earlier in the day after Trump criticized the six-month spending bill, despite prior assurances from the administration that he would sign it ahead of a looming midnight deadline.
The omnibus spending bill, which will fund the government through September, beefs up military and domestic programs, delivering federal funds to every corner of the country.
Trump said he signed the measure that had passed the Senate just hours earlier "as a matter of national security", because it dramatically expands military funding and provides for "the largest pay increase" for U.S. troops in over a decade.
The bill funds the government for the 2018 fiscal year, which began October 1 and is already nearly halfway over.
"I said to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again", Trump said. Trump, however, rescinded the program late previous year while giving Congress six months to come up with a permanent plan for the program recipients.
"As a matter of national security, I've signed this omnibus bill...we were forced to, for the military".
"DACA recipients have been treated extremely badly by the Democrats". "We funded the initial down payment of $1.6 billion".
But action stalled in the Senate, as conservatives ran the clock in protest. The episode further eroded the already damaged credibility of both the president and a White House staff that had assured the nation he was onboard. "We're going to be starting work literally on Monday on not only some new wall - not enough but we're working on that very quickly - but also fixing existing walls", he said. Rand Paul, R-Ky, joined Corker's call for Trump to veto the bill. "No one has read it. Congress is broken".
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Five times since the fiscal year began on October 1, Congress has been forced to pass stopgap funding legislation to keep the government open after lawmakers failed to reach agreement on spending.
But the result has been unimaginable to many Republicans after campaigning on spending restraints and balanced budgets.
White House legislative director Marc Short framed it as a compromise.
Along with the recent tax cuts law, the bill that stood a foot tall at some politicians' desks ushers in the return of one trillion dollar deficits.
"How many votes did the president's proposal get?"
Trump said he was "very disappointed" in the package, in part because it did not fully pay for his planned border wall with Mexico and did not extend protection from deportation to some 700,000 "Dreamer" immigrants due to lose coverage under a program the president himself has moved to eliminate.
Trying to smooth over differences, Republican leaders focused on military increases that were once core to the party's brand as guardians of national security.
Trump repeatedly invoked the need to rebuild the United States armed forces to defend his signing of a bill that he was unhappy with.
It was a sign of the entrenched divisions that have made the leadership's job controlling the majority hard and they are likely to be repeated in the next budget battle in the autumn. They will likely repeat on the next budget battle in fall.