Trump threatens to ‘VETO’ massive spending bill with just hours to go before a government shutdown


  • In a tweet Friday, President Donald Trump threatened to veto the omnibus spending bill.
  • The bill passed the House and the Senate on Thursday, a day before the deadline for a government shutdown.
  • If Trump does veto the bill, it almost certainly leaves no time for Congress to rework the bill before a shutdown.

President Donald Trump has threatened to veto the $US1.3 trillion omnibus funding bill, which would effectively push the federal government into its third shutdown this year.

“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 Defence, is not fully funded,” Trump tweeted on Friday.

The House and the Senate passed the bill Thursday, just a day before funding for the federal government was set to expire.

If Trump vetoes the bill, Congress is unlikely to have enough time to rework the bill and pass it before the shutdown takes effect. House and Senate leaders, along with most lawmakers, have left Washington.

The tweet represented a reversal from Thursday, when top White House advisers – including Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Budget and Management – said Trump would sign the bill. Mulvaney said Trump would sign the bill because it funded his priorities, including “a lot of what we wanted on immigration.”

“The president’s comment is the comment – there is nothing to add to it,” the White House deputy press secretary, Raj Shah, said Friday in response to Trump’s tweet.

Trump had also effectively endorsed the bill Thursday, though he complained Republicans “had to waste money on Dem giveaways.”

In response to the tweet, one senior Democratic aide told Business Insider that the onus was on Republican leaders to try to avoid the shutdown.

“Ask Republicans. Their problem,” the aide said. “He’s just trying to get a reaction from Democrats over something that’s demonstrably false.”

No wall funding

Trump appeared to take issue with the fact that the spending bill does not include any funds for his promised wall along the US-Mexico border. The bill allocates funds only to construct new fencing similar to what already exists along the border and to replace some existing fencing.

According to multiple reports, congressional leaders and the White House were trying to reach a deal that would have traded border-wall funding for a codification of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program.

The DACA program protects from deportation nearly 700,000 unauthorised immigrants who arrived in the US as minors. Trump ended the program in September but gave Congress until March to pass a law codifying protections for DACA recipients. A federal judge recently blocked the Trump administration from ending the program, however, so the program has continued.

Talks over a deal fell apart Tuesday after the Trump administration refused to include a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, instead offering to extend the existing protections for three years. In exchange, Democrats were reportedly set to give Trump the full $US25 billion that the administration requested for the wall.

Some Republicans who were dissatisfied with the level of spending in the omnibus bill encouraged the president to go through with the veto.

“Please do, Mr. President. I am just down the street and will bring you a pen,” Sen. Bob Corker tweeted. “The spending levels without any offsets are grotesque, throwing all of our children under the bus. Totally irresponsible.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.