Published time: 1 May, 2017 23:53
With Republicans controlling both houses and the executive branch, Democrats were still able to challenge some Trump administration initiatives in a $1 trillion budget bill that calls for increased military spending but denies funding for the wall or cuts to Planned Parenthood.
“We’re very happy with it,” Trump said Monday in an interview with Bloomberg News.
The 1,665-page bill has $1.5 billion for border security, including for technology and fixing existing infrastructure but it doesn't allocate the money to build Trump's wall.
Trump said repeatedly during his election campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall while Mexico countered that it will not.
Minority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the measure ensures that "taxpayer dollars aren't used to fund an ineffective border wall." He also says unrelated policy provisions have been omitted and the bill funds medical research, education and infrastructure.
The White House sought funding to begin building the wall as well as $18 billion in cuts to domestic agencies. Both demands were rebuffed.
The spending deal includes money for Planned Parenthood, despite Republican demands to defund the group over its provision of abortions.
Trump will be able to point to a $15 billion boost for the Pentagon, although $2.5 billion of that money is contingent on the administration delivering a new plan to fight Islamic State. It also falls well short of the $30 billion he had originally requested.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said because the legislation needs to win a super-majority of 60 votes in the 100-seat Senate. That cannot be achieved without Democratic support, and "we couldn't have our entire way" on the deal he added.
Spicer said the "president's priorities will be reflected much more" in spending yet to be worked out for the 2018 fiscal year that begins October 1.
He said Trump was pleased to see the increase in military spending, a "downpayment" on border security and money for scholarships to help low-income children in Washington attend private schools.
The fiscal 2017 funds – which should have been locked into place seven months ago – would pay for federal programs from airport and border security operations to soldiers' pay, medical research, foreign aid, space exploration and education.
Among the final issues resolved was a Democratic request to provide the cash-strapped government of Puerto Rico with $295 million to cope with its Medicaid burden.
The House and Senate have until midnight Friday to pass the measure and avert a government shutdown.