WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump signed a massive budget deal early Friday that will fund the government until March 23 and may put off further drama over federal spending until 2019.
Trump’s signed the legislation after an eight-hour government shutdown, the second in two months, after funding lapsed at midnight. He praised the legislation for its increase in military spending, which he said was the “first time this has happened in a long time.”
He also slammed Democrats in his morning tweets, blaming them for the massive increase in spending. “Sadly, we needed some Dem votes for passage,” he wrote.
The bill funds the government through March 23, but Senate Democrats and Republicans reached a massive budget agreement this week to raise spending levels into the next fiscal year.
The spending package provides for a $300 billion boost in military and non-military spending over the next two years as well as tens of billions for disaster relief.
The turbulence overnight came from Republicans unhappy with the dramatic increase in the federal deficit, and Democrats upset that the legislation did not include immigration measures to protect Dreamers, the undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.
The surprise shutdown was largely due to the opposition of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who kept debate open on the floor of the Senate for much of Thursday evening to protest the massive increase in the debt. He from the floor noted that Republicans expressed worry and fear over rising deficit under President Barack Obama but none of that under Trump.
Paul finally had to cede the floor under the rules of Senate procedure, and a vote came after midnight, 71-28.
“Tonight, you could feel the frustration and embarrassment growing in Congress as we exposed the hypocrisy of Republicans who are joining in an unholy alliance and spending free-for-all with Democrats at the expense of the American people and our party’s supposed principles,” Paul said afterward.
The House eventually voted for the spending package about five hours later, at about 5:30 a.m., in a 240-186 vote. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) secured 73 Democratic votes to assure passage. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) opposed the deal over the failure to secure a commitment from Ryan to bring Dreamer legislation to the floor. On Wednesday, Pelosi set a record on the House floor, speaking uninterrupted for eight hours about the need for protections for the immigrants.
Some Republicans, including those from the Freedom Caucus, voted against the bill, criticizing the outlays on domestic programs.
“Democrats worked hard to achieve a bipartisan agreement and gave our assurances to the Speaker that we were not interested in shutting down government,” Pelosi said afterward. “In return, the Speaker refused to make a real commitment to schedule a vote to protect the Dreamers who have the overwhelming support of the American people and a bipartisan majority in the House.”
In ending the three-day government shutdown last month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would agree to begin debate on the Senate floor of immigration legislation that includes protections for Dreamers. He filed a motion early on Friday to start the process of debate next week.