UPDATE | Trump signs $1.3 trillion budget bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending measure today, averting a midnight government shutdown just hours after declaring he was considering a veto.
Trump said he was "very disappointed" in the package, in part because it did not fully fund his plans for a border wall with Mexico and did not address some 700,000 "Dreamer" immigrants who are now protected from deportation under a program that he has moved to eliminate.
But Trump praised the increases the bill provides for military spending and said he had "no choice but to fund our military"
"My highest duty is to keep America safe," he said.
The bill signing came a few hours after Trump created last-minute drama by saying in a tweet that he was "considering" a veto.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump cast doubt on whether he would back a $1.3 trillion spending bill needed to avert a government shutdown Friday, saying he was “considering” a veto over concerns about young “Dreamer” immigrants and border wall money.
Hours before funding for the government expires and with Congress already on recess, Trump said on Twitter that he was weighing a veto “based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded.”
The tweet was at odds with comments Thursday by Trump’s supporters. Budget director Mick Mulvaney had said the president would sign the bill and Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said Trump was supportive.
Earlier Friday morning, the Senate gave final approval of the bill before funding for the government expires at midnight. With Congress already out of town, if Trump does not sign the government would likely shut down.
Trump has been frustrated with the media coverage of the bill, as conservative lawmakers and other critics have railed against it on cable news and in private calls. It was not clear if he was serious about following through with the implied threat. Several advisers inside and outside the White House characterized the message as blowing off steam and said Trump was still likely to sign. The advisers sought anonymity to discuss private conversations.
Still, Trump’s tweet was cheered by the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which voted against the spending bill along with two dozen Republicans in the Senate.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the freedom caucus, said in a tweet that the group would “fully support” a veto, adding that Congress should pass a short-term budget resolution while Trump and congressional leaders “negotiate a better deal for the forgotten men and women of America.”
The freedom caucus had urged Trump to veto the spending bill, saying it does not include enough money for the border wall, leaves intact President Barack Obama’s health care law and funds Planned Parenthood.
The Senate passage of the bill averted a third federal shutdown this year, an outcome both parties wanted to avoid. But the budget caps-busting deal drew serious conservative opposition. It also failed to resolve the stalemate over shielding young Dreamer immigrants from deportation after Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.