House Sends Trump Spending Bill to Avert Government Shutdown
(Bloomberg) -- The House sent President Donald Trump an $853 billion spending bill in an effort to avert an Oct. 1 partial shutdown of the U.S. government and delay the next funding fight until after the November elections.
The bill, passed Wednesday 361 to 61, provides funding through Dec. 7 for agencies including the departments of Homeland Security, State, Commerce and Justice and science agencies.
The measure includes 12-month funding for the departments of Defense, Labor, Education and Health and Human Services. Trump last week signed year-long funding bills that cover the Energy Department, military construction, Veterans Affairs and Congress.
Congressional leaders have been intent on getting key spending bills to the president’s desk and avoiding a government shutdown before Nov. 6 elections when control of both chambers is at stake.
Asked if he would sign the bill, Trump said Wednesday in New York, “We’re going to keep the government open.”
To garner bipartisan support for the measures, Republican leaders have put off acting on Trump’s demand for at least $5 billion to construct a wall and fencing along the southern border with Mexico. Senate Democrats, who can hold up spending bills, have offered to provide $1.6 billion. The wall funding is part of a Homeland Security appropriation measure that Congress is expected to consider after the election.
Without Trump’s signature on the bill, which passed the Senate last week by a 93 to 7 vote, the government would shut down at the end of the month.
Earlier this month, Trump threatened to shut down the government to try to force congressional Democrats to fund the border wall, but said he likely wouldn’t do so before the November elections. Trump said at the time he has a “commitment” from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to force a budget showdown over the wall “right after the election.”
Ryan and McConnell warned the president that a shutdown before the election could lead voters to sour on Republican governance and cause the party to lose the House.
After the Senate vote last week, Trump criticized the spending bill as "ridiculous" in a tweet.
"I want to know, where is the money for Border Security and the WALL in this ridiculous Spending Bill, and where will it come from after the Midterms? Dems are obstructing Law Enforcement and Border Security. REPUBLICANS MUST FINALLY GET TOUGH!" Trump tweeted Thursday.
Republicans have emphasized that the bill, H.R. 6157, provides a $17 billion increase for the military including a 2.6 percent pay increase for the troops, reversing years of decreases under budget deals struck by President Barack Obama. They have also touted a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health and downplayed the fact the bill funds implementation of Obamacare.
Lawmakers had hoped to seal a deal on a third spending package that funds the Departments of Agriculture, Interior, Treasury, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development among other agencies. Negotiations over that package have stalled over a House attempt to cut funds for financial services agencies.
The failure to finish that package means those agencies would get temporary funding and that any December shutdown would be more widespread.
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