Trump threatens to veto $1.3tn spending bill passed by Congress


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National Parks may be forced to close temporarily if the government shuts down

US President Donald Trump has said he may veto a sweeping $1.3tn (£921bn) package to fund the government until September.

He cited a lack of immigration measures, including protections for young immigrants brought illegally to the US by their parents.

The US Senate passed the bill early on Friday, hours after the House backed it to avoid a government shutdown.

The US has already had two government shutdowns this year.

The bill needs Mr Trump’s signature by a Friday midnight deadline to keep the government funded.

But the president raised concern about the final spending bill in a tweet on Friday morning.

Despite the threat, a White House official later said the president would enact the bill on Friday afternoon.

If Mr Trump signs, this would fund the federal government until 30 September.

The vote in the Senate early on Friday caps weeks of haggling over a number of key issues dividing lawmakers.

But the bill does not address the fate of young immigrants brought illegally to the US by their parents, a group who were protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) programme until President Trump ended it in September.

Mr Trump also criticised the bill for failing to provide enough funding for his promised border wall along the southern border.

On Thursday White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and the top Republican in Congress pledged that Mr Trump would ultimately sign the bill into law.

“Let’s cut right to the chase. Is the president going to sign the bill? The answer is yes. Why? Because it funds his priorities,” Mr Mulvaney said.

“The president supports this bill. There’s no two ways about it,” Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said.

Is a shutdown imminent?

Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC Washington

Donald Trump just lobbed another grenade at Congress, threatening a veto of the spending bill Republicans and Democrats have been labouring over for more than a month.

Perhaps the president just discovered the $1.6bn in new wall funding he had touted in a tweet earlier this week had numerous strings attached, including a requirement that no new wall designs could be funded. In other words, none of the sample wall designs Mr Trump recently reviewed in San Diego would be eligible.

Republican leaders in Congress will probably be flummoxed by the president’s tweet. Most members of the House of Representatives have already left for their Easter “district work periods”, which are not so much a holiday as a chance to prepare for re-election fights to come. Senators are itching to get back home, as well.

If Mr Trump follows through with his threat, a shutdown that extends into next week is all but guaranteed – and chances are he will get less of what he wants in any subsequent deal. With his tweet, however, Mr Trump has at the very least let the world know he is not happy with a bill that has been denounced by many of his supporters.

What about the Dreamers?

The Daca programme had protected roughly 700,000 immigrants known as “Dreamers”. A deal on Daca was not included in the spending bill because Republicans and Democrats could not agree a trade-off.

The White House and Republicans offered Democrats a two-and-a-half or three-year Daca extension in return for including the $25b that Mr Trump wanted for the wall, reports say.

Democrats are reported to have said they would accept that, but only if a path to citizenship was created for all the 1.8m people eligible for Daca.

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Media captionDaca recipients: ‘Life in the US is like a rollercoaster’

The White House rejected this and came back with another proposal but ultimately nothing was agreed.

“Democrats refused to take care of DACA. Would have been so easy, but they just didn’t care,” Mr Trump tweeted.

‘The Wall’

Republican Paul Ryan celebrated the package on Thursday as a means to enact President Trump’s policy positions.

“This bill starts construction on the wall,” he told reporters in a news conference on Capitol Hill.

“It funds our war on opioids. It invests in infrastructure. It funds school safety and mental health,” he continued.

It provides $1.6bn in funding for Mr Trump’s border wall, far short of the $25bn the White House had sought.

It also includes a provision that would legally allow the slaughter of wild horses roaming the American West as well as boosting military spending.

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Media captionTrump: ‘Mexicans are professional mountain climbers’

In a last-minute addition, it added funds to include the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for gun sales.

It includes a 9% budget increase for the US National Park Service to address a repair backlog that advocates say are urgently needed.

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The budget increases funding for the National Parks system

“This is a necessary investment with broad returns, and we hope this trend continues,” in future spending bills, said Kristen Brengel of the non-profit National Parks Conservation Association.

What has reaction been?

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi cheered the bill on Thursday as “a tremendous victory for the American people”.

“If you want to think you’re getting a wall, just think it and sign the bill,” she said, in a remark aimed at Mr Trump’s Republican supporters in Congress.

But despite cross-party support, at least 90 conservative Republicans voted against it, calling the budget government spending run amok.

Representative Mark Meadows, head of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, told Mr Trump that he would have the support of the group,

Republican Senator Bob Corker tweeted that he would bring Mr Trump a pen to sign the veto.

Fellow Republican Rand Paul, who briefly shut down the government earlier this year by rejecting a bill, agreed Mr Trump “should veto this sad excuse for legislation” and argued that lawmakers were not given enough time to read it.


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