Trump Signs Bill Averting Government Shutdown Before Midterms

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump signed a $853 billion bill funding the military and domestic programs on Friday, averting a partial government shutdown ahead of the midterm elections and postponing a potential showdown over funding of a border wall until at least December.

The legislation is the latest in a series of funding bills Trump has begrudgingly approved at the behest of congressional Republicans, despite spending far beyond his preferred levels and a lack of money for his effort to construct a wall along the border with Mexico. Trump signed the measure on Friday and the White House later announced the action in a statement.

In recent weeks, Trump said he believed shutting down the government over wall funding would elevate the issue of illegal immigration and politically benefit Republicans, who are facing an uphill fight in the upcoming midterm congressional elections.

GOP leaders have sought $5 billion for wall and fencing construction, but Senate Democrats -- who have enough votes to hold up spending bills -- have offered $1.6 billion. 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.

Trump also said earlier this month he had secured 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.” The pair had warned Trump that a shutdown would hurt Republicans politically, predicting such a maneuver would ensure Democrats retook control of the House.

The legislation includes 12-month funding for the departments of Defense, Labor, Education and Health and Human Services. But other parts of the government -- including the departments of Homeland Security, State, Commerce and Justice and science agencies -- will see their funding lapse on December 7. Trump earlier this month signed year-long funding bills that cover the Energy Department, military construction, Veterans Affairs and Congress.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.