By Andrew Taylor
May 04, 2017
WASHINGTON — The Senate is on track to deliver President Donald Trump the first significant legislation of his presidency, a bipartisan $1.1 trillion agencywide spending bill that would keep the government running pretty much as is through September.
Senate passage Thursday afternoon would send the huge bill to the White House for Trump’s signature well in time to avert a midnight Friday shutdown deadline. The House passed the measure Wednesday on a big bipartisan vote, though 103 of the chamber’s conservative Republicans opposed the bill.
Trump won $15 billion in additional Pentagon spending and $1.5 billion in emergency border security funds but was denied funding to begin construction work on his oft-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
And Democrats and the pragmatic Republicans that negotiated the bill successfully defended other accounts targeted by Trump such as foreign aid, the Environmental Protection Agency, support for the arts, and economic development grants, among others.
The sweeping, 1,665-page bill also increases spending for NASA, medical research, and federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI.
Trump took to Twitter earlier this week to complain about the bipartisan process that produced the measure but changed course to crow about additional spending for the military and border security. The White House has said he’ll sign the bill.
One of Trump’s tweets advocated for a “good shutdown” this fall to fix the “mess” that produced the bill, though he appeared at the White House just hours later to boast that it was a big win for him.
Congressional Republicans — motivated in great measure by fear of a politically damaging government shutdown — worked closely with minority party Democrats to produce the measure, which made only small changes to most accounts covered by the measure.
But many rank-and-file Republicans saw the bill as a lost opportunity for a fight that could have produced victories on the wall and punishing “sanctuary” cities that fail to cooperate with immigration authorities.
“It is a win for Democrats and a loss for conservatives,” said tea party Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va. “We have a Republican in the White House and control of both chambers of Congress yet this legislation fails to include key conservative reforms Republicans have long-advocated.”
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