Just hours before yet another government shutdown, President Donald Trump reluctantly signed the $1.3 trillion congressional omnibus bill set to keep the federal government open through September. Trump’s Twitter teased a possible veto early Friday morning as he complained that the legislation did not include funding for the border wall with Mexico or deportation protections for the 800,000 “DREAMers.” Nevertheless, the president moved forward with the signing, citing the need for military funding.
Before the 256-167 House vote passing the bill to be signed by the president, Washington lawmakers had just over 16 hours to read the 2,232-page omnibus bill after it was posted online.
“Shame, shame. A pox on both Houses – and parties,” Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said via Twitter. “No one has read it. Congress is broken,” he added.
As members of Congress fled Washington, the bill also lined the pockets of lawmakers after budget increases for operating costs of both chambers of the legislature were included.
According to a report from the Washington Free Beacon, the Senate increased its total budget to $919.9 million, up $48.8 million from fiscal year 2017. Salaries of officers and employees were also increased by $12.6 million. The Senate also increased its expense account, as expense allowances are going from $177,000 to $192,000, an increase of $15,000.
“The increase provides funding necessary for critical modernization and upgrades of the Senate financial management system and investments in IT security,” the congressional summary states according to the report.
Moreover, the House increased its budget to $1.2 billion, which is $10.9 million above 2017 levels. However, salaries were kept the same at $22.3 million and expenses were lowered by $4.4 million.
Congressional committee offices also received an increase of $22.9 million in salaries, up from $181.5 million in 2017 to $204.4 million in the final bill.
When Trump signaled a veto of the wasteful spending bill early Friday, Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus Republican Mark Meadows (NC-8) said he would “fully support” the president’s measure, as stated in a post from AP. He also added that the Trump Administration and congressional leaders should, “negotiate a better deal for the forgotten men and women of America.”
Although both parties in Congress wanted to avert a third shutdown this year, the omnibus bill also busted through the federal budget cap, angering conservatives. It also failed to provide a permanent fix for young immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act, a measure which Democrats have consistently vied to secure.
Trump has pinned the failure for a DACA solution on Democrats, claiming, “They don’t want DACA” and are only using a status for immigrants as “a political football.”
As a crowd gathered in the White House, Trump stood in front of cameras calling the signing of the bill a “ridiculous situation” after a stack of documents over one foot tall was placed to his right. In chastising Congress for its mounds of spending documents released just hours before the vote, Trump said, “You tell me who can read that quickly. Takes a long time to read it.”
In light of funding need for the military, Trump was still highly-dissatisfied with the wasteful omnibus bill, saying there is, “no one more disappointed than me.”