After passing a new government spending bill on Thursday, the Republican-run Congress had called it a day, expecting that President Trump would sign the omnibus bill into law before shutting down for a break until the Senate returns to chambers on April 9th.
The $1.3 trillion dollar bill was intended to keep DC funded through September of 2018, and was rushed through both the Senate and the House in order to meet Friday’s deadline, but President Trump tweeted early Friday morning that he may veto the bill, citing a lack of clear funding for DACA and his border wall as the main reasons.
While the president did sign the bill, he told reporters in the afternoon that he was unhappy with the whole process.
“I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill),” the president tweeted. “And the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded.”
Trump’s morning tweet refers to the fact that no compromise deal has been reached with Democrats to preserve DACA funding while simultaneously funneling money into the president’s so-called security wall along the US-Mexico border. It’s worth remembering, of course, that it was the president himself who moved to rescind DACA in the first place.
In a brief press conference Friday, the president said that while he was unhappy with many elements of the bill, he felt that he had “no choice” but to sign it into law in order to get more funding for defense into the budget. The president also said he wanted Congress to give him line-item veto power, an executive privilege that was ruled unconstitutional in 1998.
“There are a lot of things I’m unhappy about in this bill. There are a lot of things that we shouldn’t have had in this bill, but we were in a sense forced if we want to build our military,” Trump said. “I said to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again.”
The omnibus also includes an item that would allow the Centers for Disease Control to spend money on research on gun violence throughout the country. Previously, the Dickey Amendment was read by constitutional scholars as a bill that cut off all funding for the CDC to research health outcomes as they pertain to gun violence in the country. Although today’s bill doesn’t remove the Dickey Amendment entirely, it does clarify that money can be used to research gun violence.
The president isn’t the only lawmaker unhappy with the bill. Some Republican senators voted against the bill, worried that the spending limits outlined were too high and would create even more debt for the country. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) replied to the president’s tweet, saying, “please do [veto the bill], Mr. President. I am just down the street and will bring you a pen. The spending levels without any offsets are grotesque, throwing all of our children under the bus. Totally irresponsible.”
In signing the spending bill into law, President Trump averted what would have been the third government shutdown of 2018.
(Photo via Mark Wilson/Getty Images)