Congress has finally agreed on a spending bill that will keep the government funded through the end of September.
The bipartisan budget, introduced on Monday, provides an additional $15 billion for military spending without the Obama-era dollar-for-dollar match in domestic spending.
It prohibits the administration from moving forward on border wall construction, but it does include an extra $1.5 billion for border security. Trump says this is more than enough to “make a down payment on the border wall.”
According to White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, $341 million of that $1.5 billion will be used to fix existing border fences. “There are several hundreds of millions of dollars for us to replace cyclone fencing with 20-foot high steel wall,” he said.
The Democrats seem mollified on the border wall issue, at least for now. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who previously vowed the spending bill would not include money for the wall, said the deal “ensures taxpayer dollars aren’t used to fund an ineffective border wall.”
Mulvaney sees the bill’s increased border security allocation as an important step towards building the wall. “You can call it new wall, you can call it replacement, you can call it maintenance, call it whatever you want to. The President’s priority was to secure the southern border and that’s what this does,” he said.
Trump calls the $1 trillion deal a “clear win for the American people,” but Democrats are also celebrating.
“We handed President Trump a resounding defeat in the omnibus bill,” bragged House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “It does not fund the immoral and unwise border wall. It does not create a new deportation force.”
The budget does not restrict money from sanctuary cities or Planned Parenthood. It preserves funding for the EPA, NEA, and NEH and expands tuition assistance for poor students.
Trump seemed ruffled by the Democrats’ positive response to the bill. “We have more money now for the border than we’ve gotten in 10 years,” he said. “The Democrats didn’t tell you that. They forgot. In their notes, they forgot to tell you that.”
The bill, which is expected to pass this week, funds the government through September 30th. The real fight will start this summer when Congress begins to negotiate a spending deal for FY 2018. Unlike in the Obama years, we expect Trump to actually pass a budget.