A day after top White House budget officials said the President supported a massive $1.3 trillion spending bill approved by the Congress, President Donald Trump threw Capitol Hill into turmoil on Friday morning, saying he was thinking about issuing a veto against the plan, because it did not include enough money for his campaign pledge to build a wall along the border with Mexico, and no deal on what to do with hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant “Dreamers.”
Unable to reach an agreement in the past two months on DACA, the President again blamed that on Democrats, expressing frustration with the $1.6 billion in the bill that would go to his border wall, as Mr. Trump wants more money – along with provisions to crack down on illegal immigration – in exchange for changes on Dreamers.
There was some immediate GOP support for a veto from the halls of Congress.
“Please do, Mr. President,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said of the President’s veto threat against the Omnibus funding bill, which combined all 12 spending bills for the federal government, along with a series of unrelated legislative measures.
“I am just down the street and will bring you a pen,” Corker added, who last night labeled the budget process, “juvenile.”
Democrats in Congress scoffed at the President’s late veto threat, with a midnight funding deadline just hours away.
“NOW you care about the Dreamers Mr. President?” tweeted Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). “Six months after throwing their lives into chaos?”
“You created this crisis for American kids and young adults and you could end it today,” said Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA). “Stop,” Kennedy added.
The President’s veto threat blindsided Republicans in the Congress; at the same that Mr. Trump was tweeting out his threat, House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Twitter account was sending out reasons for the GOP to support the plan, emphasizing the extra funding in it for the military.
The White House had also made clear Mr. Trump’s support for the bill, sending out to reporters on Thursday a rundown of the provisions backed by the President, which included the nearly $1.6 billion for the border wall.
“The border will be protected with $1.57 billion for border wall construction over six months,” the document clearly states. It was titled, “The American People Win as President Donald J. Trump’s priorities are funded.”
“Let’s not forget that you ended DACA and torpedoed every possible bipartisan fix,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) of the President’s rumblings on the lack of a Dreamers deal. “This is on you.”
Democrats at various times did offer the President a lot more money for his border wall – as much as $25 billion – but their offer was rejected, because it did not also include extra measures to deal with immigration. Instead, Democrats wanted to a one-for-one deal – lots of money for the border wall, in exchange for a plan that allowed for a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.
But those negotiations went nowhere.
“Mr. President, we have proposed any number of bipartisan DACA fixes – you have rejected each and every one,” said Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL).