Trump signs $854B spending bill, avoids shutdown

Donald Trump. File photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Sept. 28 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Friday signed an $854 billion spending bill to fund some of the government’s largest departments and avoid a shutdown.

The bill funds most of the government, including money for the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor and Education. The package included a stopgap bill to fund the government through Dec. 7, avoiding a shutdown that would have started Oct. 1.

The package includes military pay raises as part of a $674.4 billion Defense appropriation, $3.8 billion to fight the opioid epidemic, $725 million for community block grants, and increases for Pell grants and the National Institute of Health.

“America is being respected again — and our people are being protected again. I am pleased to have signed this bill into law,” Trump said during a closed-press signing ceremony.

Trump had threatened to force a government shutdown Monday — the beginning of the next fiscal year — if a spending bill didn’t include the $5 billion he would need to build his border wall. The Senate hoped the fiscal package would make it politically impossible for Trump to do so and delay the fight until after the midterm elections in November.

“Unfortunately, the radical Democrats refuse to support border security and want drugs and crime to pour into our country,” Trump said.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney on Thursday told CNBC the president plans to return to discussions on funding the border wall after the midterm elections.


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