Friday, February 09, 2018

BREAKING: Trump signs $400 billion spending deal reached by Congress

Congress gets budget deal done.

President Trump signed a massive budget package early Friday morning that lifts spending caps while funding the government through March 23, ending a brief shutdown after a tumultuous night on Capitol Hill.

On Twitter, the president touted the bill’s billions in additional military spending.

“Just signed Bill. Our Military will now be stronger than ever before. We love and need our Military and gave them everything — and more. First time this has happened in a long time. Also means JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!” Trump tweeted.

The House sent the $400 billion deal to his desk after approving it in the pre-dawn hours, on a 240-186 vote.

The package, which includes a stopgap measure to keep the government running, allows $300 billion more for the military and other programs over two years. The agreement also adds $89 billion in overdue disaster aid for hurricane-slammed Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, a politically charged increase in the government's borrowing cap and a grab bag of health and tax provisions.

Passage of the measure came over the opposition of Democratic leaders who demanded the promise of a vote to protect "Dreamer" immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

But the bigger drama played out on the Senate side. A last-minute maneuver by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., delayed consideration of the bipartisan budget package in that chamber past midnight.

The result: the government endured a short-term shutdown in the wee hours of the morning, though most would never feel its effects. It was the second shutdown this year, after a three-day freeze in January.

Paul, though, objected on fiscal conservative grounds that the plan irresponsibly busted through budget caps and would grow the deficit even more. 

"I ran for office because I was very critical of President Obama's trillion-dollar deficits," the Kentucky senator said. "Now we have Republicans hand in hand with Democrats offering us trillion-dollar deficits. I can't in all honesty look the other way."

At one point, an exasperated Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., took to the Senate floor to lambaste Paul for what Tillis described as "theater."

"You can make a point all you want, but points are forgotten," Tillis added. "There aren't a whole of history books about great points in the U.S. Senate."

As Paul stood firm, the Trump administration announced it was preparing for a "lapse" in appropriations, suggesting that officials expected a short shutdown.

The Senate eventually approved the bill, after that shutdown technically started.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., praised the plan in a statement shortly after the vote, writing that, "Funding for education, infrastructure, fighting drug abuse, and medical research will all, for the first time in years, get very significant increases, and we have placed Washington on a path to deliver more help to the middle class in the future.”

The House subsequently OK’d the measure, before any major effects from the shutdown could be felt.

The House Freedom Caucus, the chamber’s fiscally conservative wing, also opposed the bill out of concerns that it would lead to more government spending.

“The … caucus opposes the deal to raise spending caps on discretionary spending by nearly $300 billion over two years,” the roughly 30-member group said Wednesday. “We support funding for our military, but growing the size of government by 13 percent adds to the swamp instead of draining it. This is not what the American people sent us here to do.”

Fox News' Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.