On Friday, 23 March, US President Donald Trump took a path most uncomfortable in his presidency, signing a massive, 2,232 page spending bill that is not even a budget, but rather a glorified continuing resolution with money for things he likes and things he does not like. The bill was presented with literally 1,000 minutes for all the congressmen to consider. At more than two pages a minute, it is not likely that this legislation was fully reviewed by any one person.
The president is reported by the New York Post to have “grudgingly signed” this spending package (called an ‘omnibus’ due to its comprehensive nature). His complaints were numerous:
- Lack of full funding for his border wall project
- The huge number of pages that no one was able to read in its entirety
- The 800,000-plus DACA recipients were abandoned by the Democrats and no provision was given for them in this bill
The President swore that he would “never again” sign such a hastily-prepared bill again. But he did sign it because there were things he considered important:
- A partial government “shutdown” (not a big deal in reality but huge media fodder) was averted
- It boosted defense spending by $60 billion (nearly the amount Russia spends on defense in total for a year)
- It granted pay hikes for the US Military forces
Fox News reported that the House of Representatives had adjourned for the weekend, and if the bill had not been signed into law, a partial government shutdown would have begun Saturday morning. Fox News and NBC News reported:
Trump signed the mammoth legislation reluctantly, saying in a press availability with other members of the administration that, in order to secure a necessary increase in military spending, he had to give money to Democratic projects that he derided as a “wasted sum of money.”
“I say to Congress: I will never sign another bill like this again,” Trump promised. “Nobody read it. It’s only hours old. … (It’s) the second-largest ever. President Obama signed one that was actually larger, which I’m sure he wasn’t too happy with either.”
Trump also demanded that the Senate end the filibuster rule, as well as allow the president a “line-item veto for all government spending bills” going forward.
“It’s not right and it’s very bad for our country,” he said.Trump had tweeted earlier Friday that he was considering using the veto, saying that recipients of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program “have been totally abandoned by the Democrats.” He added that the border wall, which he said was “desperately needed for our National Defense” is not fully funded.