Published On: Fri, Mar 23rd, 2018

Trump threatens to veto newly passed spending bill

Washington: US President Donald Trump said on Friday he was considering vetoing the newly-passed $1.3 trillion spending bill, a move that likely would lead to a government shutdown, as it does “nothing to address the problem of young undocumented immigrants and does not fully fund a planned border wall”.

Considering vetoing the newly-passed $1.3 trillion spending bill

His remarks came just hours after the US Senate voted 65-32 in favour of the spending bill, which had been approved on Thursday in the House of Representatives by a 256-167 vote, the Washington Post reported.

“I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defence, is not fully funded,” Trump tweeted.

He was referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme, which his predecessor Barack Obama created in 2012 to shield more than 800,000 undocumented immigrants called Dreamers from deportation.

These individuals are potential beneficiaries of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (Dream) Act, a bill that had been introduced in Congress in numerous versions over the past 17 years in an effort to provide a citizenship path for individuals who were brought into the US unlawfully before the age of 16.

Trump announced an end to the DACA programme last September, saying Obama’s executive order was “unlawful” and “unconstitutional” and that he was providing a six-month window for Congress to enact a legislative solution.

The spending bill also included $1.6 billion for the start of construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border, a key Trump campaign promise. It is far short of the $25 billion the White House had initially requested.

If approved, the bill will fund the government through the end of September, the end of the 2018 fiscal year.

Failure to enact the legislation by a midnight Friday deadline would trigger the third government shutdown this year.

Conservative members of the House slammed the spending bill before it was passed. “The funding proposal drafted by House and Senate leadership not only forgets the promises we made to the voters — it outright rejects them,” the House Freedom Caucus said in a letter to Trump.

It said, among other things, that the $1.5 billion allocated for the border wall would be “minimally effective in delivering not just our promise, but your promise, to build a wall and keep our country secure”.

“Sanctuary cities also continue to receive federal funds,” the letter added, referring to cities such as San Francisco that do not cooperate with federal authorities on deportations and other enforcement actions.

Trump’s pledges during the campaign to build the wall and end funding for sanctuary cities were highly popular among his base and key factors in his surprise run to the presidency.

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