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Trump Begrudgingly Signs $1.3T Spending Bill After Threatening Veto

By Steven Porter  
   March 23, 2018

Some senators encouraged the president to follow through on the threat after their colleagues sent the bill to the White House on Friday morning.

Update: The president held a news conference Friday afternoon during which he said he would sign a spending bill into law, citing the need to do so as a matter of national security.

"While we're very disappointed in the $1.3 trillion ... we had no choice but to fund our military because we have to have, by far, the strongest military in the world," he said.

"I will never sign another bill like this again," he added, citing the quick pace with which Congress finalized the measure.

[The full story HealthLeaders Media published Friday morning is included below:]

President Donald Trump threatened to veto a $1.3 trillion spending bill passed early Friday morning by the Senate, suggesting he might singlehandedly shut down the federal government.

The bill includes a $10 billion boost for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and additional funding for programs to combat the opioid epidemic, but it excludes proposals that had aimed to stabilize the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance markets.

If the president follows through on his threat, it would likely prompt HHS to furlough half of its workforce, nearly 41,000 staff members.

Related: How a Government Shutdown Would Affect HHS

The timing is particularly inconvenient for members of Congress, many of whom have already returned to their home districts for a two-week recess after the Senate voted 65-32 early Friday morning in favor of the spending package, as Politico reported.

Lawmakers had fully expected Trump to sign their bill without incident after White House officials indicated his support for the measure. Asked if Trump would sign the bill, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said, “Yes,” on Thursday, as CNBC reported. "Why? Because it funds his priorities."

In a tweet shortly before 9 a.m. Friday, however, the president cited two priorities unrelated to healthcare as the basis for his “considering” a veto: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and funding for a wall along the southern U.S. border.

The so-called Dreamers who benefit from DACA “have been totally abandoned by the Democrats,” and the border wall “is desperately needed for our National Defense,” Trump wrote.

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia shot back with a snarky tweet of his own, accusing the president of snoozing through the negotiations.

“Seriously though, Rip Van Winkle, did you just awake from a long slumber?” Kaine wrote. “We gave you a deal last month that offered all the border funding you wanted AND a path to citizenship for Dreamers. YOU (or your minions) tanked it and turned us down. Art of the Deal-Wrecker!”

But other senators welcomed the president’s veto.

Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

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