Trump invokes 'national security' to sign spending bill

politics | Mar 23, 2018 | By Martin Barillas

President Donald Trump said on Friday that "my highest duty is to keep America safe" and for that reason he has signed the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress "as a matter of national security." The $1.3 trillion spending measure thus averts a government shutdown at midnight. Trump tweeted on Friday morning that he was considering vetoing the bill, he wrote  "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 Defense, is not fully funded."

Later, at a hastily organized news conference, he made the announcement of the signing and vowed that he will "never sign another bill like this again."

Calling the omnibus spending package a "ridiculous situation," Trump pointed to the stack of more than 1,000 pages of the bill that he said few had actually read. He said that  "nobody" is "more disappointed than me because the number is so large." Trump called on the Senate to reform its rules and eliminate the use of the filibuster and thus allow passing all legislation on a simple-majority vote. The president also called on Congress to give him line-item veto authority so that he can cancel spending he opposes.

Trump said that the spending bill represents the biggest amount of military spending in history and said that the United States military "would be far superior than any military in the world." On hand was Defense Secretary James Mattis, who also praised the increase in defense spending. Quoting George Washington, Mattis said that America’s first president said in 1790 that "to be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace." Trump said, "we had no choice but to fund our military."

Trump said that the omnibus spending bill provides an "initial down payment" for the wall along the U.S-Mexico border he has promises. $1.6 billion has been authorized to build new sections of the wall and replace older sections. While he had wanted authorization of $25 billion in spending, the president said work will begin on Monday. He said, "this is a short term funding, but it's immediate."

In the hours before the signing of the spending bill, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-SC) tweeted that he and the Freedom Caucus would support a veto. Meadows tweeted, “The ‏Freedom Caucus would fully support you in this move, Mr. President. Let's pass a short term Continuing Resolution while you negotiate a better deal for the forgotten men and women of America.” Republican conservatives opposed the funding contained in the bill for Planned Parenthood.
On Thursday, before the House passed the bill, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who leads the Freedom Caucus, told Fox News, "I don't think the American people said, 'Oh, let's put Republicans in control of Congress to do a bill like this,'" and added, "This may be the worst bill I have seen in my time in Congress, the worst bill our leadership has ever allowed to come to the floor."
 

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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