Trump Rips ‘Ridiculous’ Spending Bill Over Lack of Wall Funding

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump attacked a spending bill from Congress that he had been expected to sign, blaming Democrats for leaving out money for his promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and urging Republicans to “get tough.”

In a tweet, Trump questioned whether Congress would approve funding for the wall after midterm elections in November, indicating he may be reconsidering whether to confront Democrats on the issue and potentially shut down the government ahead of voting.

Two White House officials said Wednesday Trump planned to sign the spending legislation on Friday. The bill combines fiscal 2019 appropriations for several different programs and departments, including the Energy Department, military construction, Veterans Affairs, and Congress itself. The spending package, H.R. 5895, comprises slightly more than a tenth of total federal discretionary spending for the fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

A second bill, H.R. 6157, would provide full-year funding for the Pentagon and Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services while extending temporary funding for other agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, through Dec. 7. It passed the Senate Tuesday on a 93 to 7 vote.

A House GOP aide said Thursday that congressional Republicans don’t anticipate that Trump will veto either measure this month and cause a shutdown. Other people familiar with Trump’s thinking also don’t anticipate a shutdown before the midterms, although they cautioned that they couldn’t be certain.

Earlier this month, Trump threatened to shut down the U.S. government to try to force congressional Democrats to fund the border wall, but said he likely wouldn’t do so before the midterms.

Trump said at the time he has a “commitment” from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan to force a budget showdown over the wall “right after the election.”

Ryan and McConnell have warned the president that a shutdown could cause voters to sour on Republican governance and cause the party to lose the House. The Ryan-McConnell plan would lock in at least 80 percent of government funding for 2019, meaning a smaller part of the government would be affected by any December shutdown.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.