The long delayed but essential Consolidated Appropriations Act which funds the federal government through September 30, 2018 was passed yesterday by the Senate (65-32) and the House (256-167) and signed into law today by President Trump, but only after he whined about several matters and threatened to veto it. Limited Gateway funding is included.
Our two U. S. Senators and nine of our NJ Representatives voted YES. Reps. Watson Coleman, Norcross and Pallone voted NO. Both sides of the aisle generally saw enough in the bill that they liked. Defense spending generally favored by Republicans is set to jump $80 billion over previously authorized spending levels, while domestic spending favored by Democrats rises by $63 billion.
Trump has made the Gateway project a signature fight, appealing to Republican congressional leadership to remove its funding, largely to punish Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) Although Gateway is not mentioned in the bill it does appear the project is still eligible for as much as $541million in funding this fiscal year and might also still qualify for other pools of money on a competitive basis. Funding it on a long-term sustainable basis remains a shaky proposition.
Trump went on Twitter this morning, whining: “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.” Not true. Over the weekend, the White House offered to extend protections for hundreds of thousands of current DACA recipients for two and a half years, with no guarantee beyond that time, in exchange for $25 billion for the border wall, according to congressional aides. Democrats countered by saying they would agree to the full $25 billion only if the president agreed to a pathway to citizenship for a much broader population of young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. Trump responded NO. The DACA predicament remains unsolved. However, The U.S. Supreme Court refused to rule on lower court decisions that keep the program in place at least for a while.
Matt Drudge, the conservative aggregator, tweeted this screenshot of his website today upset that the package did not include complete funding for Trump’s promised wall. Fox News and other conservatives fumed over the matter and over too much spending particularly on the domestic side.
In affixing his signature to the bill, Trump said in his surly fashion, “I say to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again.” Let’s shed no tears for Trump. He got no money for his beloved wall. Congress only gave him limited funds for a short fence and monies for other immigration efforts, some of which are harmful to immigrants. Also with Trump being a New Yorker it is inexcusable for him not to support Gateway.
Here is what Congress is stuffing into its $1.3 Trillion spending bill.
Preview photo: President Donald Trump speaking about the spending bill.