May 02, 2017
WASHINGTON — The Latest on Republican efforts in Congress to pass spending legislation and a health care bill (all times local):
The Trump White House has made it official: The president will sign the $1.1 trillion catchall spending bill.
The White House budget office says in an official policy statement that the administration is pleased with additional money for the Pentagon and border security, though it’s “concerned” that lawmakers ignored Trump’s request that the spending increases be accompanied by spending cuts elsewhere in the budget.
The statement arrived on the eve of a House vote on the measure. The White House spent much of the day lashing out against a Washington narrative that minority party Democrats outperformed the White House in the negotiations.
The White House statement called the bill’s $1.5 billion in border security money “a good first step” even though there’s no money for Trump’s controversial border wall.
Two of President Donald Trump’s top deputies are delivering a combative defense of the budget deal forged to keep the government funded through September.
They’re insisting that it represents a win for the administration.
That’s despite a host of concessions, including on money to construct Trump’s promised southern border wall and funding for cities that don’t cooperate with immigration authorities.
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney says the president is feeling “frustration over how he’s been treated” because Democrats have tried to spin the deal as a win for them.
He’s insisting that the bill will begin to fund Trump’s promised border wall.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly says he’s “shocked” by the behavior of lawmakers who are celebrating slowing down its construction.
Top Senate Republicans are growing frustrated with President Donald Trump’s tweets and having to answer questions about them.
Trump tweeted on Tuesday that the government “needs a good shutdown” in September to fix a “mess” in the Senate in his displeasure with Democrats prevailing on a temporary spending bill. Leaving Washington whipsawed, Trump hours later praised the spending bill as a major accomplishment.
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, asked about the tweet, said: “I do wish somebody would take his iPhone away from him.”
Arizona Sen. John McCain, asked if there’s any appetite among senators for a government shutdown, said: “None that I’ve detected.”
On Trump’s latest Tweets, McCain said: “I wish he’d think twice before tweeting.”
President Donald Trump is touting the budget deal forged to fund the government through September, declaring: “This is what winning looks like.”
Despite concessions on issues like border wall funding, Trump says at a U.S. Air Force Academy Commander-in-Chief trophy presentation that, “our Republican team had its own victory – under the radar.”
He’s touting a “massive and badly needed” increase in military funding as well as additional money for border security. He’s claiming that will serve as “a down payment” on his promised southern border wall — even though the deal does not fund new construction.
He says the bill “is a clear win for the American people.”
Trump had complained earlier Tuesday about having to work with Democrats, tweeting that, “Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!”
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is insisting the budget deal that will keep the government running until September is a win for the White House, despite complaints from President Trump.
Mulvaney is citing a $15 billion infusion of defense spending — about half of what Trump asked for in March — as a huge win for the White House, among other measures.
Mulvaney tells reporters in a conference call Tuesday morning that, “the truth of the matter here is that what happened is the American people won and the president negotiated that victory for them.”
Trump complained about the budget deal in a pair of tweets earlier Tuesday and called for a “good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!”
Mulvaney say that he’s “not worried about September” right now.
The Republican health care bill has been dealt a significant blow with a respected former House committee chairman saying he doesn’t support it.
Moderate Michigan Rep. Fred Upton is a 16-term House veteran who until this year chaired the chamber’s Energy and Commerce Committee. He’s saying Tuesday he can’t back the legislation because it undermines insurance protections that current law gives people with pre-existing illnesses.
The GOP bill would let states get federal permission for insurers to charge some people with pre-existing illnesses higher premiums. Currently, they must charge sick and health customers the same premiums.
House Republican leaders hope to push the health care bill through the House this week.
But they remain short of votes. Upton’s defection could make it easier for other moderates to vote no.
House Republican leaders say they are close on garnering the votes to scrap major parts of Democrat Barack Obama’s health care law but that they are still short of the votes.
Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida said Tuesday that leadership told the GOP caucus: “’We’re almost there.’” Webster said “that means they’re not there. We don’t have the votes but we’re almost there.”
Trump is pressuring the House to vote on the bill this week. Multiple GOP members said there is no indication on vote timing on health care.
Republicans were forced to pull the bill in March or face defeat. Changes to the bill have won over conservatives, but moderates are reluctant to back the measure.
President Donald Trump says the nation “needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September” to fix a “mess” in the Senate.
The president says on Twitter that the country needs to “either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51 (percent),” suggesting more rules changes ahead in the Senate.
Senate Republicans recently triggered the “nuclear option” to eliminate the 60-vote filibuster threshold for Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. That change allowed the Senate to hold a final vote to approve Gorsuch with a simple majority.
Trump’s tweets come ahead of expected votes this week on a bipartisan budget deal to avoid a government shutdown and a possible vote in the House on a health care overhaul.
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