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Trump signs spending bill, blasts Congress

President Donald Trump signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill to keep the federal government open Friday, then excori...

Posted: Mar 24, 2018 4:01 AM
Updated: Mar 24, 2018 4:01 AM

President Donald Trump signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill to keep the federal government open Friday, then excoriated Congress for passing the plan in the first place.

Trump cited misgivings about its contents but said it was needed for national security reasons as he spoke alongside his secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security and Commerce at the White House.

"There are a lot of things I'm unhappy about in this bill, there are a lot of things that we shouldn't have had in this bill, but we were in a sense forced if we want to build our military," Trump said.

But Trump warned it will be the last time he will sign a similar plan.

"I said to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again," Trump said.

Trump lamented the "ridiculous situation that took place over the last week," saying the bill was quickly put together and lawmakers were given little time to read through it.

Trump also called on Congress to give him a "line item veto" for all government spending bills, echoing a desire expressed by previous presidents who lamented parts of congressional legislation.

He also called on Congress to get rid of the filibuster and "go to 51 votes in the Senate" in order to have "success" in Congress.

"Without the filibuster rule it'll happen just like magic," Trump said.

RELATED: Congress moves to block border wall in key wildlife refuge

Veto threat

Earlier Friday, the President threatened to veto the measure over concerns it does not include a solution for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or sufficient funding for a border wall.

"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," Trump tweeted just before 9 a.m. ET on Friday.

During his speech, Trump argued that Democrats have stood in the way of DACA recipients gaining permanent legal status, while casting Republicans as would-be saviors. Trump moved to end the Obama-era program last year.

"The Republicans are with you, they want to get your situation taken care of," Trump said, speaking directly to DACA participants. "The Democrats fought us, they just fought every single inch of the way. They did not want DACA in this bill."

Democrats and Republicans in recent weeks have sought to negotiate a deal that would grant legal status for undocumented immigrants while also providing funding for Trump's border wall. The two sides have been unable to reach a deal that could be included in the omnibus.

But Trump sought to use the political gridlock to his advantage, casting Republicans as the true defenders of the subset of undocumented immigrants -- who are protected by a program that Trump ended.

"I do want the Hispanic community to know and DACA recipients to know that Republicans are much more on your side than the Democrats who are using you for their purposes," Trump said.

The massive spending package marks the end of a months-long funding stalemate in which lawmakers were forced to pass one short-term spending bill after another to stave off a shutdown.

The package includes more than just money to fight the opioid epidemic, pay the military and fund more than $21 billion in infrastructure projects. It also includes policy changes like one that would incentivize states to enter more records into the country's gun background check system and another that would cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority until Palestinians cease making payments to the families of terrorists.

Spotted in the West Wing on Friday by CNN shortly after Trump's tweet, Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director, struck an assured tone when asked if the government would shut down over Trump's veto threat.

"I think we'll be OK," he said.

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