Trump to sign kind of spending bill he vowed to avoid
President Donald Trump vowed last year that he’d never sign another sweeping spending deal to avoid a government shutdown. This year, Congress broke it up into two.
According to Trump’s adviser, Kellyanne Conway, the President is poised to sign the deal to fund the federal government through fiscal year 2020 — avoiding a budget showdown during the last holiday season before the presidential election.
The $1.4 trillion agreement, broken up into two spending packages, includes all 12 spending bills. The agreement was struck after a day of last-minute negotiations ahead of a December 20 funding deadline — illustrative of the ongoing cycle among federal lawmakers rushing to reach an agreement to fund the federal government and avoid another holiday shutdown.
In March 2018, the President considered vetoing a $1.3 trillion spending bill over misgivings about its contents and border wall funding. He said lawmakers didn’t have enough time to read through the 2,232-page document.
“We looked at a veto, I looked very seriously at the veto. I was thinking about doing the veto, but because of the incredible gains we’ve been able to make for the military, that overrode any of our thinking,” Trump said after signing the bill.
Trump said at the time that he had “no choice” but to sign the bill because of the funds it provided to the military.
“There are some things we should have in the bill. But I say to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again,” Trump remarked.
Trump also called on Congress to give him line-item veto powers on all government spending bills, which the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in 1998.
Though the White House was willing to put up a fight about increasing spending for a border wall during past spending battles with Congress, this new House deal maintains the current funding of $1.37 billion.
That’s significantly less than the roughly $8.6 billion the administration had been seeking for Trump’s signature issue, which triggered a shutdown at the end of last year.
The current spending agreement also does not address the national debt. While Trump campaigned on paying down the national debt during his tenure as President, it has grown since he took office. And Trump’s 2017 tax cuts have, so far, only added to the federal deficit.
The agreement does, however, target some funding the White House may see as victories. It includes a military and civilian federal worker pay raise, federal funding for election security grants and gun research, and a repeal of three health care taxes designed to help pay for the Affordable Care Act.
CNN’s Clare Foran, Phil Mattingly, Jeremy Diamond and Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.