Trump signs funding bill, deflecting budget fight to the fall

Shutterstock images (by Ingka D. Jiw and Oberon): ballot box, budget/costs concept. 

President Donald Trump on May 5 signed a $1.1 trillion appropriations bill to fund the federal government through the end of September 2017. The signing, which took place at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., came hours before the one-week continuing resolution was set to expire. News of the signing was confirmed by White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the daily media briefing.

Now the real fight starts, as the White House prepares to release its budget request for fiscal 2018. The administration's "skinny budget," released in March, reflects the priorities Trump campaigned on – the construction of a border wall with Mexico, big increases in military spending and in homeland security, as well as major cuts to international aid and the State Department. The plan is financed by deep reductions in spending at civilian agencies, especially the Environmental Protection Agency, and the elimination of 19 small independent agencies.

Efforts to get a head start on many of those priorities hit a brick wall in 2017 budget negotiations. Democrats hailed that bipartisan spending agreement, and expressed hope that the deal augured more cooperation to come.

"Enough of the rhetoric, and enough of the political brinksmanship," said Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), the vice chair of the Appropriations Committee. "The collaborative work that brought us to this point lays the groundwork for our negotiations on the fiscal year 2018 appropriations bills, and I look forward to beginning that process.".

However, Trump appears dead set on using the 2018 budget to make good on his campaign pledges, and has expressed frustration with Senate rules that require 60 votes to pass most legislation.

"[E]ither elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%," he tweeted on May 2. "Our country needs a good 'shutdown' in September to fix mess!"

Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, elaborated on this sentiment in comments to reporters a day later.

"If you want to imagine what a good shutdown was, it would be one that fixes this town, one that drives the message back home to people that it really was as broken as they thought it was when they voted for Donald Trump," Mulvaney said.

A full budget request from the Trump administration is expected to land later this month.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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