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President Donald Trump talks with reporters during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, March 15, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump threatens to veto spending bill over DACA, wall funding


President Donald Trump threatened Friday to veto a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that administration officials had previously said he would sign.

In a tweet Friday morning, the president complained that the bill approved by the Senate overnight does not provide full funding for a border wall or address the young immigrants who had been protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Trump blamed Democrats for the omission of a fix for the 800,000 DACA recipients whose protection he had sought to end this month. Federal courts have stalled his order to shut down the Obama-era program.

According to the Washington Post, Trump had pressed lawmakers for a deal on DACA earlier this week, offering three years of protection for the 800,000 DACA permit holders in exchange for $25 billion in border wall funding.

Democrats rejected a temporary extension and countered with authorizing wall funding in conjunction with a path to citizenship for about 1.8 million undocumented immigrants who were eligible for the program. Trump would only accept citizenship for so-called Dreamers if additional measures were included to change the legal immigration system that Democrats have long opposed.

The omnibus spending bill, which would fund the government through September, includes $1.6 billion for border security, but Democrats insisted on some restrictions on how that money can be spent.

At a press briefing Thursday, Office of Management and Budget Direct Mick Mulvaney told reporters the president supported the legislation despite some concessions to Democrats.

“Is the president going to sign the bill?" he said. "The answer is yes. Why? Because it funds his priorities.”

Asked about the minimal funding for border barriers, White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short insisted the $1.6 billion was all the administration would be able to spend in six months anyway.

In a tweet on Wednesday night, Trump indicated support for the bill and noted the border security funding would enable him to start building a wall, adding "rest will be forthcoming."

After the House passed the appropriations bill Thursday, the White House distributed a fact sheet declaring it "a win for the American people," partly because "$1.57 billion is provided to fund many miles of border walls and fencing in key areas, including new construction and repairs."

Reactions on Capitol Hill to Trump's veto threat Friday were mixed, with some who had reservations about the bill encouraging him.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chair of the Freedom Caucus, retweeted a letter the conservative group of lawmakers sent Trump earlier this week urging him to veto the legislation. Meadows suggested Congress pass another continuing resolution and keep negotiating.

"Please do, Mr. President," tweeted Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. "I am just down the street and will bring you a pen. The spending levels without any offsets are grotesque, throwing all of our children under the bus."

"Loser's bluff. Go ahead and veto the omnibus over DACA. We dare you," tweeted Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., suggesting Trump rescind his executive order to end the DACA program if he wants to help Dreamers.

If the bill is not signed, the federal government could run out of money at midnight Friday.

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