President Donald Trump on Friday signed a $1.3 trillion spending bill, despite earlier threatening to veto the bill due to it containing only a fraction of the funds he requested for border wall and security.
“There are a lot of things I’m not happy about in this bill. There are a lot of things we should not have had in this bill,” Trump said at the White House. “It’s not right and it’s very bad for our country, but we were in a sense forced to if we want to build our military.”
“My highest duty is to keep America safe. Therefore, as a matter of national security, I’ve signed this omnibus bill.” Trump added. “We’re very disappointed that in order to fund the military, we had to give up things where we consider, in many cases, them to be bad or them to be a waste of money. But that’s the way, unfortunately, right now the system works.”
During the impromptu news conference on the spending bill, Trump warned Congress that this will be the last time he would sign an omnibus bill into law. He called the rush process of Congress getting the bill to his desk as a “ridiculous situation.”
“I say to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again,” Trump said of the 2,232 page bill that was approved within just 24 hours of its release. “I’m not going to do it again. Nobody read it. It’s only hours old. Some people don’t even know what’s in it.”
“You tell me who can read that quickly,” Trump added. “I’m not going to do it again.”
Trump called on Congress to give him the power to make line-item vetoes on all government spending bills and called on the Senate to end its filibuster rule to make it easier to implement the Republican agenda.
“To prevent the omnibus situation from ever happening again, I’m calling on Congress to give me a line item veto for all government spending bills,” he said. “And the Senate must end — they must end — the filibuster rule and get down to work.”
The bill contains just $1.6 billion of the $25 billion Trump has asked for the construction for the border wall. In exchange for the border wall, part of the broader immigration deal would have addressed DACA recipients.
“I say this to DACA recipients: that the Republicans are with you, they want to get your situation taken care of. The Democrats fought every single inch of the way, they did not want DACA in this bill,” Trump said. “I do want the Hispanic community to know and DACA recipients to know that Republicans are much more on your side than the Democrats, who are using you for their own purposes.”
Earlier Friday morning, Trump tweeted that he was considering a presidential veto to send the legislation back to Congress, citing the lacking of funding of a border wall and a lack of fix of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2018
However, Trump told reporters after the news conference that the increase military spending “overrode” his decision not to veto the bill.
“I looked very seriously at the veto,” Trump said. “I was thinking about doing the veto. But because of the incredible gains that we’ve been able to make for the military, that overrode any of our thinking.”
Conservative lawmakers who disapproved the bill for adding more to debt encouraged the president to veto the bill and to “negotiate a better deal.”
Tennessee Senator Bob Corker encouraged the president to follow his instinct.
“Please do, Mr. President. I am just down the street and will bring you a pen,” Corker tweeted. “The spending levels without any offsets are grotesque, throwing all of our children under the bus. Totally irresponsible.”
Senator Rand Paul also urged the president to veto the bill concurred.
“I agree @realDonaldTrump should veto this sad excuse for legislation because it’s $1.3 trillion in spending that (almost) no one read,” he tweeted.
The bill extends government funding through September and was pushed through Congress at the last minute, hours before a partial government shutdown would take effect on Saturday. The Senate sent the bill to Trump’s desk early Friday morning on a bipartisan, 65-32 vote hours after the House approved the measure
If Trump had vetoed the bill, the government would be partial shutdown over the weekend since the House adjourned Friday morning until Monday.