Trump signs budget bill after threatening veto

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Washington, March 24 (IANS) Backing down from his earlier threat to veto the spending bill, leaving both Congress and Democrats reeling, the US President Donald Trump on Friday signed the $1.3 trillion budget bill.

While calling it a “ridiculous situation”, Trump said the spending plan was important because it increases money for the military.

“As a matter of national security I have signed this omnibus budget bill,” The New York Times quoted Trump as saying. He added that there was “a lot in it I’m unhappy about.”

He accused Democrats of demanding increases in domestic programmes as the price for approving extra money for the Pentagon and complained about the length and complexity of the legislation, Xinhua reported.

The $1.3 trillion spending bill was approved by the House of Representatives on Thursday and by the Senate early Friday morning. It helps to avert a government shutdown as the current funding expires midnight.

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The spending package allows big spending increases for defence and domestic programs, while adding money for infrastructure projects, veterans and measures to combat the opioid crisis, among other programmes.

It also includes measures meant to strengthen gun sale background checks and improve school safety.

But the bill also provides $1.6 billion — far short of what the Trump administration has sought — for border security measures, including construction of a border wall with Mexico.

“I say to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again. I’m not going to do it again,” Trump said at the press conference.

Trump has been frustrated that Congress has not provided enough funding to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, one of Trump’s campaign promises.

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In a tweet earlier on Friday, Trump threatened that he was considering to veto the massive spending bill which will fund the federal government through September 30.

He argued that 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme “have been totally abandoned by Democrats” and his long-promised border wall “is not fully funded.”

–IANS

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