President Trump on Thursday blasted the spending bill passed by the Senate earlier this week for its lack of funding for his border wall with Mexico. The bill is a key part of the congressional strategy to avert a government shutdown before the midterm elections.
“I want to know, where is the money for Border Security and the WALL in this ridiculous Spending Bill, and where will it come from after the Midterms?” Trump tweeted.
The Senate bill is the largest of three “minibuses” that together would provide funds for more than 90 percent of the federal government, while leaving the politically sensitive issue of funding for the border wall to a later date. The House is expected to take up the spending legislation next week, with the goal of passing a final version before the fiscal year ends on September 30.
Lawmakers agreed to the spending deal earlier this month, but the question has always been whether Trump would play along. The president’s tweet Thursday morning suggests that he may not.
Back in March, Trump said he considered vetoing the $1.3 trillion spending bill for the current fiscal year that he eventually signed, warning Congress, “I will never sign another bill like this again.” The current approach by Congress means that Trump doesn’t have to sign a single, massive omnibus — but the new bills keep spending at the higher levels lawmakers agreed to earlier this year, and funding for the wall is obviously still very much an issue.
Trump discussed the wall earlier this week, telling The Hill that his recent visit to the 9/11 memorial in Pennsylvania had re-inspired his efforts to build it. “So, we are building the wall, I could build it — you know what I do best is build — I could build the whole thing in a year, but um, there was a picture that was sort of great. I wish I had it. I had a picture of where I was this weekend. They built this gorgeous wall where the plane went down in Pennsylvania. Shanksville. And I was there. I made the speech. And it’s sort of beautiful, what they did is incredible. They have a series of walls, I’m saying, ‘It’s like perfect.’ So, so we are pushing very hard.”
Trump also hinted that he would be issuing new orders on immigration-related issues soon, although he declined to provide details. “I’ll be doing things over the next two weeks having to do with immigration, which I think you’ll be very impressed at,” Trump told The Hill.
The bottom line: GOP lawmakers, eager to avoid a pre-election shutdown, had sought to tie Trump’s hands by attaching an extension of Homeland Security funding through December 7 to a package that boosts military spending for next year. But with 10 days left before the end of the fiscal year, it’s clear that Trump is ready to pick another fight on his signature issue of immigration and the wall. It’s not yet clear whether that will involve shutting down the government at the end of the month or, perhaps more likely, at a later date.