Donald Trump Signs Bloated Bipartisan Spending Bill; Hails 'Big Victory' for Military

Marie Harrington
February 12, 2018

The House of Representatives approved a major budget deal early Friday morning, ending a brief government shutdown overnight and sending the measure to the President for his signature.

A 71-28 Senate vote was followed almost four hours later by a vote in the House, which passed the deal 240-186, just after 5:30 a.m. ET.

President Donald Trump signed a spending bill Friday morning to keep the government operating after some brief uncertainty about when he would do so.

The shutdown, which started at midnight, was the second this year under the Republican-controlled Congress and Trump, who played little role in attempts by party leaders earlier this week to head it off and end months of fiscal squabbling.

Congress achieved an ambitious two-year budget agreement Friday, but in doing so, reignited ideological factions on deficit spending and immigration that are likely to flare as lawmakers turn to these issues next, ahead of a daunting midterm election season.

On Sept. 5, President Trump terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama-era initiative that has protected almost 800,000 of them from deportation. "Now we have Republicans hand in hand with Democrats offering us trillion-dollar deficits".

Such disputes won't help the party energize the Hispanic and liberal voters it will need as it tries capturing House and perhaps Senate control in November. Rand Paul from Kentucky had filibustered the vote on Thursday. "I very seldom disagree publicly with my friend Lindsey, but that's a terrible outcome", said Sen.

While House minority leader Nancy Pelosi stole the headlines on Wednesday when she delivered a record-breaking eight-hour speech on the House floor denouncing the Bill and calling for a deal on immigration, it was Republicans' turn on Thursday.

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But, House Speaker Paul Ryan called the legislation a "true compromise measure", saying, "This agreement will also allow us to step off this carousel of short-term funding bills that do nothing but hurt our military, and stymie out ability to focus on other important agenda items". "You can essentially accomplish the same thing by a point-of-order and get a vote". But it put Paul - and conservative complaints about the sweeping budget agreement negotiated this week by congressional leaders - in the spotlight.

Once the time on Paul's objection ran out, and after the government technically was shut down, senators strolled back into the chamber at 1am, many of them dressed casually and some looking exhausted.

The spending deal also bypassed the contentious immigration issues that held up a previous stopgap spending bill in January, resulting in a three-day shutdown. It would protect 1.8 million Dreamers, beyond those under DACA, but also impose new restrictions on visas for immigrant family members or those from underrepresented countries in the so-called visa lottery program that Trump wants to eliminate. "We will solve this DACA problem", he said.

He added that the accord includes a sizable disaster relief package that will help Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas recover from Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey previous year.

"Although every big spending deal in Congress has good with bad, the hope is that the good outweighs", said Sen.

It also extends the USA government's borrowing authority until March 2019, sparing Washington politicians hard votes on debt and deficits until after mid-term congressional elections in November. "But I would argue that it's time to vote".

About $165 billion would go to the Pentagon and $131 billion to non-defense programs.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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