You are here
Trump signs budget deal after raising government shutdown threat
[WASHINGTON] US President Donald Trump signed Congress' newly passed US$1.3 trillion spending bill on Friday, ending suspense over a surprising threat he made hours earlier to veto the budget and shut down the federal government.
In the latest episode of the Republican president throwing his White House, Congress and the federal government off balance, Trump had threatened in an early morning tweet to kill the government funding deal.
Initially, it had been a foregone conclusion that Mr Trump would sign the ahead of a midnight deadline to keep the government running.
Mr Trump used the threat to draw attention to his displeasure about immigration issues, although he said the bill would boost funding to the military, one of his top priorities.
"There are a lot of things I'm unhappy about in this bill,"he told reporters, patting the more than 2,000 pages of the bill stacked on a purple box beside him in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House.
"I will never sign another bill like this again," he said."Nobody read it. It's only hours old."
The tweeted veto threat had caught Mr Trump's own aides by surprise, as well as lawmakers in the Republican-dominated Senate and House of Representatives, who had already left Washington for a scheduled two-week spring recess. Mr Trump himself was scheduled on Friday to fly to Florida for a weekend at his private resort.
It was unclear how seriously Republican leaders took Mr Trump's shutdown threat and neither Speaker Paul Ryan nor Senate Leader Mitch McConnell commented publicly on it.
Mr Trump has been frustrated that Congress has not turned over funding to make good on his campaign promise to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. The bill includes US$1.6 billion for six month's of work on the project but he had sought US$25 billion for it.
Mr Trump also has been at odds with Democrats in Congress over the fate of Dreamer immigrants - those brought to the United States illegally when they were children.
Mr Trump canceled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that gives work permits to the Dreamers and protects them from deportation. The decision is currently tied up in court cases.
He offered to extend the protections, tied to a sweeping set of changes to immigration laws, but subsequently rejected bipartisan offers from lawmakers.
As the six-month spending deal was coming together, there had been reports Mr Trump had balked at the deal and had to be persuaded by Mr Ryan to support it.
The Conservative wing of Mr Trump's party had panned the bill because of its spending increases and some deficit hawks cheered Mr Trump's threat to veto it.