Trump Reignites Shutdown Possibility With Spending Bill Veto Threat

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

President Trump on Friday threatened to shut down the government, saying in a tweet he was considering vetoing an omnibus spending bill just hours before agency funding is set to expire.

Such a move would almost certainly lead to the third shutdown of the year, as lawmakers have largely already skipped town after wrapping up votes on the omnibus spending package early Friday morning. Trump said he would veto the measure because it does not deal with immigrants whose Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status is up in the air and because his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is only partially funded.

The wall was a key sticking point in negotiations over fiscal 2018 appropriations, and lawmakers eventually struck a delicate compromise in which the Homeland Security Department would receive $1.6 billion for new and secondary fencing and other border security measures. On Thursday at the White House, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney praised the agreement as providing more structure along the border than the administration asked for in fiscal 2018. Mulvaney said that Trump wanted the omnibus passed and that he would sign it.

The DACA issue came to pass in September when Attorney General Jeff Sessions ended the program that President Obama initiated. He gave immigrants whose parents brought them to the United States illegally as children until March 5 to apply for renewal, but federal courts have since delayed that cut off date.

The omnibus spending bill would provide agencies with $1.3 trillion through Sept. 30, giving nearly every agency a funding increase after Trump earlier this year signed a budget agreement raising caps by $63 billion. The measure would put restrictions on other Trump administration priorities, such as its plan to reorganize agencies and shed workers, but the president did not mention those in his veto threat. In addition to Mulvaney’s assertion that Trump would sign the bill, the White House put out a formal Statement of Administration Policy on Thursday spelling out all the reasons the president would approve of the bill.

Lawmakers were scheduled to go on a two-week recess beginning Friday, but would have to come back to Washington to end a shutdown that would begin at midnight if Trump follows through on his veto threat.

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